The court justified this with special circumstances: A claim to the relinquishment of the premises was “not enforceable”, because the operators could have given credibility that they were put under pressure by phone and the innkeeper was attacked by strangers with a knife in the parking lot, insulted and was threatened “. The emergence of this risk goes “visibly far” beyond the contractual obligation to provide event rooms.
The party conference was supposed to take place five months ago, and an appointment in November was canceled because of the hail of cancellations. AfD head of state Georg Pazderski – he no longer wants to compete – complains about the consequences of a campaign that has been carried out for months by radical left-wing groups under the motto “No space in the AfD”. Operators are threatened with violence, property damage and actions damaging business, said Pazderski.
The AfD in Berlin has so far refused to move to neighboring Brandenburg in theory. With regard to the party congress, Pazderski now told SPIEGEL: “We are trying to hold it in Berlin, if not, we will also look in parallel in Brandenburg.” The federal party supports Pazderski, a spokesman told SPIEGEL that the national association of a democratic party had the right to meet in Berlin: “Where should this end? Should we soon move to Poland or Hungary?”
The constitutional lawyer Ulrich Battis had determined in 2019 that the AfD could get a room from the state of Berlin under certain circumstances because it was entitled to it under the party law. However, the party would first have to query all venues in the city and document the cancellations in writing. Subsequently, she could sue the use of public space before the regional administrative court. According to the latest ruling by the district court, the AfD is considering this option. “We are currently reviewing this,” said Pazderski.
At the federal party conference in Braunschweig last autumn, police from several countries and the federal police were on site with strong forces, clearing vehicles and water cannons.
Where the AfD gathers, one thing is certain: protest. In Braunschweig, for example, under pressure from the VW workforce, the car manufacturer, as the permanent sponsor of the hall, ensured that the widely visible logo – “Volkswagenhalle Braunschweig” – was hidden during the two-day party congress. In hotels in the city, which also housed AfD politicians, leaflets from an alliance were displayed in the rooms under the motto “Stop the AfD”.
The AfD also expects demonstrations around its next federal party convention. It is scheduled to take place in Offenburg in Baden-Württemberg at the end of April, and a rental agreement has recently been signed. In Offenburg, too, there is now resentment, calling for left-wing groups and the local Greens to protest. The hall operator, Messe Offenburg-Ortenau GmbH, justifies the rental at the request of SPIEGEL: Since it is a “public event venue”, “we cannot prevent parties who are not prohibited from renting the hall”.
The phenomenon is not new to the party. In November 2018, the Bavarian AfD parliamentary group leader Katrin Steiner-Ebner had to leave a restaurant in Munich, and in May 2019 a well-known Berlin restaurant did not accept a table reservation for parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland and other AfD leaders. Reason: “We do not want to serve politicians and their employees who discriminate and discriminate against people on the basis of their origin, religion, political attitude or skin color.”
SPIEGEL editors had similar experiences last year when they met the AfD right wing Björn Höcke in two different restaurants in Berlin-Mitte. Then the restaurant operators decided that Höcke would no longer be a guest in the future. An innkeeper justified this as follows: He was Muslim, Höcke’s entire policy was against “people as I am”.
AfD boss Jörg Meuthen and Gauland employee Michael Klonovsky recently had a similar experience in a restaurant in Berlin-Mitte. Although they were allowed to finish eating, the operator then told them that he wished to stop seeing them as guests in his restaurant. He later mentioned the “racist and sexist politics” of the AfD to the press as the reason.
Since then, the restaurant’s Facebook page has had a clash between supporters and opponents of the AfD: “Bad food, arrogant staff” against “Respect and millegrazie for the AfD ban.” For a short time, there were noticeably many negative reviews of the restaurant on the “Tripadvisor” portal. They have since been deleted.