Since July, there have been violent riots against Eritrea festivals in several countries. A pattern emerges. Now a suspicion falls on Giessen’s Green city councilor Klaus-Dieter Grothe: Did he even help the violent criminals with their finances? *
A series of outbreaks of violence against Eritrea festivals stands out from the summer news that demands an explanation. Several Western countries in Northern Europe and North America are affected. In Giessen [Gießen], there were numerous injuries at the beginning of July. The Hessian police advised against entering the city center on a Saturday. More than 1,000 police officers from three federal states were unable to prevent the outbreak of street battles but were forced into close combat with the aggressors in the Giessen battles between police and festival opponents. More than 25 officers were injured. Injuries of the worse kind – broken bones and requiring stitches – were not uncommon.
A month later, there were very similar scenes in Stockholm, Toronto, Canada, and Seattle. Thousands of kilometers in between, yet similar processes – that can make you suspicious. And the “protest” against the festivals always seems well-organized and orchestrated, as in Sweden, where several hundred “demonstrators” engaged in skirmishes with the police, broke through a police barricade, and finally stormed the rented site around a former farm. Cars and tents were set on fire. The historic farmhouse in the suburb of Spånga-Tensta was also vandalized, the windows smashed and parts of the interior destroyed. At least 52 people were injured and 200 arrested.
In Sweden, the police had no patience with violent criminals
The latter speaks of an efficiency of police operations that has not been achieved in Germany (with many more officers deployed). A Stockholm police spokesman said: “The police are on the scene to stop these criminal acts. This is about people who have chosen not to follow the instructions of the police.” This is tantamount to a war against the security forces.
It was no different in Hesse. And yet hardly any violent criminals were arrested there, even ringleaders such as the notorious “John Black” (whose real name is Yohannes Abraha), who lives in the Netherlands, were soon released. Otherwise, the excess of violence in Stockholm would probably have been unthinkable.
On the other hand, one may be surprised that the Swedes also showed so much patience and let a day of violence happen – especially since it had been openly announced on the Internet. Busloads of alleged “Eritrean opposition figures” were brought to Stockholm from various European countries. Giessen was no different. What is not quite so clear, however, is who the festival opponents really are and what moves them.
Sectarian mobs of TPLF supporters continue their coordinated assaults on Eritrean cultural festivals, this time in Edmonton, Canada
— Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) August 20, 2023
After the first outbreak of violence in Sweden, the police withdrew the permit for the “demonstrations”. The Swedish police were well prepared: if more buses arrived in Sweden, they would be stopped in accordance with the Aliens Act. Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer said: “It is not clear that Sweden is drawn into the internal conflicts in other countries in this way.” The resources of the Swedish police would actually be needed for other things. Indeed, the gang wars in Stockholm’s suburbs are far-reaching enough. There is probably no need for imported violent criminals from the Horn of Africa, who have been living as “refugees” in various EU countries for a long time and can be recruited for various services.
Fighters from Tigray on German streets?
The program of the Stockholm festival was no different from others of this kind, which are organized worldwide by exiled Eritreans. The festival in Bologna is the oldest – and so far undisturbed. The focus will be on the country’s culture, traditional food, seminars, and concerts, including youth programs and children’s areas. The German-Eritrean Society, which is close to the organizer of the Giessen Festival – the Central Council of Eritreans in Germany – speaks of a family and cultural festival. Eritreans are scattered across the globe today, mainly due to the Thirty Years’ War of Independence.
Opponents of the festivals complain that representatives of the Eritrean state or the embassy are also present, thus carrying out propaganda for the government. In addition, there is the uniform accusation that large amounts of donations are raised for the government of Isaias Afewerki at the festivals, which the organizers repeatedly deny. One of the opponents claimed, “This is not a festival, they teach their children hate speech.”
This ethnic driven violent act on our communities is a work that was being planned for months. Member of #Swe parliament Mrs Åsa Nilsson Söderström, a #Tigray’n Khalid Abdu, @amnestyusa employee Venessa Tsehaye, & Mirjam Van Reisen have been promoting it for weeks@SwedishPM pic.twitter.com/0gOo21jzeu
— Simon K Hagos (@tewerwari_1) August 4, 2023
One could say that the man has learned his woke lesson: After all, hate speech can only ever be found on the other side of the political divide and is therefore a good killer argument in any dispute.
Festival-goers, on the other hand, describe the attackers as terrorists, at least some of whom are said to come from neighboring Ethiopia, or more precisely, from the border region of Tigray, which is known for its belligerence and their persuit for independence. A two-year bloody war by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) against Ethiopia and ultimately Eritrea did not end until November 2022. In Europe and the world, it seems that they now want to continue this conflict, as those in the know think. According to observers, the blame lies with the irredentist Greater Tigray ideology, which the political leadership of the defeated Tigray continues to follow. Some of the Eritrean opposition members in exile seem to want to ally themselves with these fighters – or give in to the alliance for other reasons. Maybe money also plays a role.
The Festival Of HATE is down!#Eritrea'n Demostrators tore down the tents when they were provoked by the Dictator Regime Supporters.#Sweden #Stokholm #Giessen #Germany#BrgiedNhamedu pic.twitter.com/uUQuY6pmUv
— Amanuel ERI (@AmanuelERI1) August 5, 2023
And that fits in with another point: It was only last summer that violent resistance to an Eritrean cultural event in Germany stirred for the first time. There had never been anything like it before. At a concert in August 2022, Eritrean women and construction workers were pelted with stones and sometimes beaten up by intruders in the Giessen exhibition halls. Videos from the attacker’s point of view show a still relatively aimless crowd of young men ready to fight, picking up stones and throwing them in the direction of the exhibition hall in order to arm themselves with some poles (see “Brged Nhamedu” shouts in this video at 0:33).
According to one translation, the “dialogue” of the fighters goes like this. A driver gives young people courage:
– “Look, look! The attack is in full swing!”
– “Everything, everything! Everything will be smashed!”
– “The attack is sure of victory!”
– “Look at her, look at them! Our heroes!”
– “We led them (the attackers) across the field here and let them in! We have left the police behind!”
– “And our boys roll here in the field and do their heroic deeds!”
– “They’re all running to the back, even inside (meaning: in the Hessenhallen) everything is smashed!”
– “Say Brged Nhamedu, look here, the youth in the carnage!”
– “Yes, carnage! That’s the real life!”
– “You can’t expect more from life!”
Impunity is also virtually guaranteed to the young thugs by their instigator: “Nothing can happen to you, just strike!” That time, in August 2022, the Hessian police had been taken by surprise by the severity of the attack, even though there had been indications of allegations of violence.
But they were thrown to the wind. The police fell behind and were not sufficiently staffed. It was only afterward that the authorities became aware that there was such a thing as a “Brigade Nhamedu” that planned and organized the attacks. What was left behind: stone chips on the exhibition building, a damaged car, but also many physical and mental injuries of the Eritreans who had involuntarily become “defenders” in the Hessenhallen. The events have still not been legally dealt with.
Grothe spoke of the “victory of democracy” after the first excess of violence
The aforementioned organization “Brigade Nhamedu” (to German “Brigade Mother Earth”) [ TN editor: its English equivalent “Death Brigade”] ) with openly violent goals has only been in existence for a few months, but since its foundation, it has been well networked with organizations that pretend to be the backbone of the Eritrean opposition in Germany and Europe. Together, they pursue a so-called “twin path” of civic engagement and violent action – not a completely new strategy in the political struggle. What is new, at best, is that in this way conflicts from completely different parts of the world are carried to Germany and elsewhere and fought out here. Of course, this is not entirely unique, considering the recent “tribal war” between Syrians and Lebanese in the Ruhr area.
Here is a full insight of the recent terrorist acts by mercenaries mostly from Tigray and negligence of the police and security forces in Europe and North America and their utter failure to apprehend these hooligans. pic.twitter.com/ZNg2non4vh
— Adha Hager (@AdhaHager) August 21, 2023
Thanks to linguistically knowledgeable informants, TE has been able to report exclusively on this “twin path” between “civil society” and violence, in which the Giessen “Mothers’ Initiative” is almost certainly involved, but also the Swiss-based “Eritrean Bright Future“, both of which can be considered close allies of the violent brigade. For example, Tsehainesh Kiros, the well-known chairwoman of the “Mothers’ Initiative” in Giessen, expressly did not want to condemn the violence perpetrated in the summer of 2022, nor even wanted to distance herself from it. This already shows what a bloody war some here want to import into Germany.
And this is where another actor comes into play: When the Eritrean concert or cultural festival was canceled in advance due to the brutal violence, the Green city councilor Klaus-Dieter Grothe, according to pictures a close friend of the Eritrea opposition, even spoke of a “victory for justice and democracy” – in a Facebook post, which he immediately deleted but by no means took back. Rather, he remained true to himself. Grothe had also been involved in the protest in August 2022, apparently once again contributing a car and giving a speech to those gathered, in which he spoke out strictly against the festival. At the same time, the “brigade” went about its work at the exhibition center. Is it wrong to look for connections between the Greens and the violent group?
Green mayor: Violent perpetrators came “just like that”
In any case, one could be forewarned in Giessen after the experiences of 2022. But in July 2023, it would be the same actors who tried again to attack the Eritrea Festival, which until then had been able to take place without incident for ten years. As before last year’s concert, there were now open threats of violence from “John Black” and other comrades-in-arms. Tsehainesh Kiros, who had refused to distance herself from the violence last year, registered the new counter-demonstration, which was also approved.
When Mayor Alexander Wright (also a Green) was asked afterward how he could approve of such a daring permit, he claimed that the applicant for the “counter-demonstration” – according to TE findings a woman, Tsehainesh Kiros – had shown himself to be “extraordinarily cooperative” and thus provided no arguments for a ban. Later, however, the same applicant “completely lost control“. The perpetrators of violence came “just like that,” Wright said in pretended naivety.
In addition, the civil society organized “Eritrean opposition associations” held a large press conference in the Congress Hall, which belongs to a 100 percent subsidiary of the city of Giessen. All the allies of the violence sat together there – except for the Nhamedu brigade itself. The lead Tsehainesh Kiros and the doctor Dr. Rut Bahta from the Mainz association “United4Eritrea” formed the outwardly civilized wing. In the middle of the arrangement, Beyene Gerezgiher (Eritrean Bright Future) took a seat, who fairly quite open to the brigade leader “John Black” aka Yohannes Abraha, and seems to support the group’s armed struggle half-covertly.
The city of Giessen thus housed the presentable wing of the troublemakers. As a result, Mayor Wright tried to ban the festival and thus circumvent the feared violent “protests”. The Green mayor (and OB candidate) Wright is said to have successfully initiated the medical service booked by the organizers – also shortly before the start of the festival began. This extraordinary intervention can only be described as a stick between the legs. This is what can happen to a politically unpopular organizer in Germany in 2023. It was difficult and at higher cost for the Central Council of Eritreans to organize another medical service. If the accusation is true, it says bad things about the Green mayor of Giessen.
A Giessen Green “acts globally”
But even more dubious could be the role of the long-time city councilor Klaus-Dieter Grothe, who was once also chairman of the parliamentary group in the Giessen city council. Grothe has a typical “green” profile. According to the Green Party website, Grothe’s motto is: “Think globally, act locally”. He is also involved in refugee aid. He is also a parliamentary group expert on integration and housing issues. Some things fit together exactly as they are.
On 22 March, Grothe hosted a panel discussion on the “Threat to refugees in Germany by transnational networks” (subtitle) for the Greens, in which his colleague Dr. Rut Bahta (United4Eritrea) also participated. It was, of course, specifically about the conflict between Eritreans living abroad and supposedly Eritrean “refugees” (who may not be at all). In addition to his city council seat – after a time on Lesbos – Grothe is currently employed as a psychiatrist in Athens, where he is probably worried about the progress of “refugees” on their way to Germany.
From video chats with leading members of the aforementioned “Brigade Nhamedu”, which were presumably organized on TikTok, very strange news about this Green politician has been leaking out since July:
According to this, Grothe not only maintained close friendships with the German anti-Eritrea alliance – which, by the way, seems to reach as far as the taz author Marina Mai – but even got his hands dirty on the terror money of the Tigray-affiliated “Brigade Nhamedu”.
TE has gained exclusive insight into these internal chats thanks to several informants. It helped that the brigade brothers did not even bother to hide their actions. The calls for violence are posted just as openly as the joy of the “success” of a new attack is later celebrated. Arrests and “counter-demonstration bans” such as those in Sweden are not a failure. It is only a matter of creating the greatest possible unrest in order to disavow the peaceful part of the European or North American Eritrean community.
Did Grothe manage the brigade account? Greens do not deny
In the aforementioned chat, the leaders of the German brigade chapter express their exasperation with the financial conduct of their association. Literally, there is talk of an “account in Germany” to which funds have been transferred from an account in the USA. The spokesperson continues: “That’s where our funds are. To which club is the (account) registered? What connection does the association have to us? This club has not drawn up any contract with us, this account ultimately belongs to another club and not to the Brigade Nhamedu. We’re just asking questions.” The account, it continues, is managed by a “doctor from the Green Party”.
And here, however, the suspicion is extremely obvious that it is the psychiatrist from Giessen with the knack for the anti-Eritrea faction in Giessen. The exact status of the account remains unclear, but it appears that Grothe was acting on behalf of an unknown association when he founded and operated an account in which various funds were parked for use in Germany or the EU. The narrator in the video goes on to say that the account originally belonged to another organization called “Yiakl“, which is also the subject of suspicion of the brigade brothers: The apparently allied Yiakl could also get access to the money that was actually intended as a reward for the Radau brothers from “Mother Earth”.
One can still speculate about the identity of the account manager. No name was given. What is clear, however, is that a politician from the Green Party with a doctorate is involved in the violent operations of an internationally networked terrorist gang. Klaus-Dieter Grothe did not respond to a TE request. For him, the Giessen district association of the Greens replied: The Greens in Giessen know nothing about a “Brigade Nhamedu” and “do not manage any accounts for such an organization”. However, that was not the question asked. Because the account is said to have been managed by a “doctor from the Green Party”. A denial looks different.
The disturbances in Canada were also announced by the “Brigade”
As a strange coincidence would have it, there is also a politician in Sweden who is accused of having instigated and supported the conflict between the Eritrea Festival there and its opponents for years. It is Åsa Nilsson Söderström of the liberal party Liberalerna, who is also involved in the government of Ulf Kristersson. In a guest article for Aftonbladet, Nilsson Söderström calls for the end of what she calls a “killer party” festival in Stockholm.
Meet @asaliberal, the swedish politician who conspires with terrorists to bring violence to European cities. Systematic, financed, and protected. Today it is Eritrean events, and tomorrow? If you allow violence to push political agendas, you open the door to uncontrollable mayhem pic.twitter.com/YIQI0dLvje
— Dee Abby (@DeeAbby85) August 4, 2023
This is a little less subtle than the framing of the German media. But the arguments are well known: Eritrea is not a democracy, supposedly even one of the worst dictatorships in the world, as the Stockholm Institute for the Study of Democracy V-Dem claims to have found out. There is talk of 10,000 dissidents, including Swedish citizen Dawit Isak, who is currently suspected of being held in an Eritrean prison.
On the other hand, the author Eyassu Tesfay, who took part in the festival, says that the festival is “a joyful contribution to Stockholm’s free culture and associations”. She urges Nilsson to inform herself first and then judge.
Politicians like Åse Nilsson supporting & encouraging violent terrorists group Birged ni hamedu! These groups are behind violence against police &🇪🇷 communities,arsonists and vandalism 🇪🇷s properties, and attacking peaceful family ev @SwedishPM @AnnLinde @SvD @LOSverige @sdriks pic.twitter.com/SY4OcFNunr
— Elias T Elefe (@ElefeElias) August 20, 2023
After the August wave of global violence against Eritrea festivals in Sweden and North America, Bright Future boss Gerezgiher posted the simple message: “Congratulations to our struggling people!” There are also indications of monetary payments from “Eritrean Bright Future” to the Nhamedu Brigade. Meanwhile, their leader posted that “the work” was by no means done. So there is no time to rest on your laurels.
Shortly after the Stockholm disturbances, “John Black” appeared on Facebook together with comrades-in-arms in an undestroyed part of Stockholm. The brigade leader next set his sights on the three-day festival in Toronto. “It won’t take place” and “Cancel” is written in his posts about the harmless-looking festival poster. It seems that “Black” succeeded in this case.
In Toronto, a public park was the venue for the festival. This is also where the opponents of the festival there gathered last weekend and attacked again with ice-cold precision. Here, too, tents were set on fire, apparently some of the festival-goers fought back. At least nine people were injured. The police warned to bypass the area. The Canadian police did not take sides, giving the impression that they were protecting the attackers. Most recently, the city of Toronto even withdrew the festival’s approval.
In Edmonton, a picture speaks a thousand words. A child playing soccer faces the violent mob trying to attack his community – his innocent gesture is a reflection of the absurdity of the situation #EritreanFestival #StopTheAttacks @edmontonpolice @CityofEdmonton pic.twitter.com/QgaxDXhyYg
— CECCO 🇨🇦🇪🇷 (@EritreaCanada) August 21, 2023
This is probably the plan of the German Greens, but also of other parties that seem to deliberately overlook an important fact: the German state has more in common with the organizers of Eritrean cultural events than with their opponents. The police were accepted as stewards around the festival, even asked for help, where festival-goers wanted to go from their hotels to the fair. The attackers and festival opponents, on the other hand, did not respect the forces of law or the law at all. The trade fair operator still sees himself in a dilemma: The city of Giessen requires him to stop renting to the Central Council of Eritreans, but there are apparently no arguments for this position. The Hessenhallen are required to rent out “non-discriminatory”.
The “anger of the fled men”
In the daily newspaper close to the Greens, the aforementioned Marina Mai – not exactly a prolific writer in the newspaper – wrote on July 10 that the excesses of violence in Giessen were “inexcusable”, but that the “anger of the … fled men” is very understandable. They have “gone through the hell of Eritrea and Libya,” it continues in the best refugee country style. According to official statistics, there are about 36,000 Eritreans living in Sweden. They make up about four percent of the country’s non-Swedish population of 865,000, who make up about eight percent of Sweden’s population. In Germany, there are said to be 80,000 Eritreans.
Perhaps half of these “Eritreans” could not be from Eritrea at all… There have been considerable doubts about the identity and origin of these people since 2015. The former Austrian ambassador to Ethiopia, Andreas Melan, declared even before the great migration crisis (first act) that thousands of Ethiopians had pretended to be “Eritreans” in Europe in order to have a better chance of refugee protection. 30 to 40 percent of the “Eritreans” in the EU are actually Ethiopians. This is another element in the chapter on asylum fraud in the EU. You may still remember the girl murderer of Illerkirchberg, who wanted to marry a woman in Ethiopia.
The other Eritreans – those celebrating peacefully – have also come to Germany, Sweden, Italy, or the Netherlands as asylum seekers at some point. At that time, long before the year 2000, asylum procedures were much stricter. It was still a matter of proving political persecution. In addition, most of those who came back then are now economically well-integrated and, above all, live here without violence.
The fact remains: Today’s hyper-identification of certain German milieus with “the refugee” is likely to be at the root of the Giessen transgression. The Green Party and its entourage are known for such emphasis on the persecuted people of the world, who, on the other hand, seek to turn it into domestic political currency. This is becoming increasingly difficult in view of the real problems surrounding the accommodation and “integration” of immigrants.
In the case of the internationally organized, extremely violent Eritrea or perhaps Tigray fighters, which are the subject of this text, the Greens have failed most obviously. Anyone who wants to ban a peaceful festival with the argument of violent “counter-demonstrators” points out only one thing: the failure of one’s own (green) image of the poor victim refugee, which no longer applies when someone tries to break German law with threats and violence. [BY VON MATTHIAS NIKOLAIDIS | TICHYS EINBLICK]
(*software translation to English – The original article first appeared on Tichys Einblick under the title “Gießen: Verwaltet ein Grüner das Konto der Anti-Eritrea-Terrorgruppe?” Notice that some new tweets are added to this story.)