German police seek permanent presence at Fusion, 'the largest non-commercial, alternative cultural festival in Europe'

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  • After 22 years of self-management, law enforcement now demand a permanent station on-site.
  • German police seek permanent presence at Fusion, 'the largest non-commercial, alternative cultural festival in Europe' image
  • Fusion, one of Germany's biggest music festivals, is under pressure from police. Held for the last 22 years at a former Soviet military airfield in Lärz, Fusion is now in a dispute with police over security measures for its next edition beginning June 26th. Authorities citing insufficient security measures now want to set up a permanent station on the festival's grounds, a move that Martin Eulenhaupt from organisers Kulturkosmos Müritz says is "the beginning of the end" for the event, which hosts around 70,000 visitors each year. Police also wish to patrol the site around the clock for the duration of the festival. Another organiser, Jonas Hänschel, told taz, "It is important to us that the guests can be free at our festival. The permanent presence of the police is perceived as repression." Police statistics show the event to be relatively safe despite its large size, with one case of violence reported in 2016 and a maximum of seven incidences in 2012. Fusion has typically run its own security, providing 10,000 staff to account for the 70,000 attendees. Organisers told Zeit that they "firmly believe that the event can take place" despite warnings from the police that the event will be canceled if their demands aren't met. A petition to support the festival is being run on the Kulturkosmos website, which is accompanied by a statement detailing their view of events. It describes receiving a letter from the Chief of Police of Neubrandenburg on May 2nd, just two months before the festival date, stating he is "withholding his permission for us to hold the festival" despite a long history of cooperation with police. It admits that while some work needs to be done to secure a permit, the police have made clear that "they will never agree to us holding the festival unless we agree to the police station and the patrols." Apart from presenting numerous stages with varying types of electronic music, Fusion hosts discussions, theatre productions, cinemas and food stands. Unlike most festivals, it's a distinctly uncommercial event, describing itself as "four days of holiday communism."