Once again, the city of Hagen is making national headlines. After anti-Semitic riots in the streets of German cities and in front of synagogues in recent weeks, the city of Hagen took down the previously hoisted Israeli flag – probably on the advice of the police, the accounts of the municipality and the Ministry of the Interior of North Rhine-Westphalia contradict each other on this point. “The administration and the police received many complaints on Wednesday. “Around noon, the city authorities of Hagen received an urgent request from the police to prevent an escalation by immediately taking down the flag. The administration reacted to this immediately,” the statement said,” reported the newspaper Westdeutsche Zeitung.
A 44-year-old man from Hagen then stood holding an Israel flag in front of the Hagen city hall to express his solidarity with the Israeli state. “Because of the city’s shabby action, I felt compelled to show courage,” the man, who wishes to remain anonymous for security reasons, told Westfalenpost.
Many stopped and shouted at the man, insulted him in the vilest way (“child murderer”, “Jew wanker”) and threatened him. The police did not succeed in calming the situation. The police even banned the peaceful demonstrator from standing in front of the town hall. Later, the expulsion was withdrawn. The place where the flag-waver was was in fact a public pavement, but he had to stop his action because of the threatening situation.
The man had already protested in this way in front of the town hall on the previous Wednesday. Those who now think that the municipality has done everything to protect this man’s right to freedom of expression will be proven wrong. At his first appearance on Wednesday, a city hall employee approached him and said that he “must not provoke the mayor” and that he should leave. The police took his personal details and also asked him to leave. According to the Westfalenpost, they also asked him if he was of Jewish faith.
The police and the city stated that the man had “disturbed official business”. He was merely standing with a flag in front of the city hall on a public pavement.