German PFDJ festival called off after protests and clashes

The Eritrean government’s attempt to hold a festival in Giessen ended in chaos, after protests from young Eritreans, furious that the event was celebrating a regime they had risked their lives to flee from.

Opposition to the festival organised by the ruling PFDJ had been building for weeks, with a petition calling for it to be cancelled.

Campaign against Giessen PFDJ Festival

The Eritrean opposition took the issue to court, but were unable to persuade the authorities to have the event called off, despite pointing out that it would involve “hate speech” against members of the community.

And so the event went ahead on Saturday. But not without challenge.

Eritrean youth were determined to resist what they saw as a celebration of the Eritrean dictatorship which had forced them to risk their lives to flee their own country.

What began as a peaceful protest outside the festival site grew in size and intensity, as other opposition groups joined them.

Clashes broke out, and police from across the region were called [see below] as they feared the events would get out of control and there could be serious injuries.

Finally, the PFDJ gave in.

The organisers told the festival goers that they had been instructed to halt the event by the police.

They said the protesters outnumber the police’s capacity to protect the event and that the police were unable to take responsibility for the festival’s safety.

This caused considerable grumbling from the PFDJ supporters, who can be heard on the Facebook video  saying they had came all the way from Holland for the festival.


Source: Police press release

Gießen: The police accompanied two events in Gießen today (08/20/2022). In addition to an Eritrea cultural festival in the Hessenhallen, a meeting with rallies and a procession, which was thematically directed against this cultural event, was registered with the city of Giessen.

Around 5 p.m., a larger number of participants left this gathering. They climbed over the fence of the Hessenhallen and attacked the helpers who were there setting up the festival. According to initial findings, the attackers used sticks, iron bars and knives. Police forces deployed there were stoned – the forces used batons and pepper spray against the attackers. A hitherto unknown number of people and police forces suffered minor and sometimes serious injuries.

Rescue workers took over their first aid.

Police forces from the police headquarters in Central Hesse, Frankfurt am Main, North Hesse, East Hesse, South-East Hesse and South Hesse as well as the Hessian riot police were brought together in Gießen.

The forces arrested several people provisionally.

The culture festival was canceled by police order.

Guido Rehr, spokesman

Questions please contact:

Central Hesse Police Headquarters
Press and Public Relations
Ferniestraße 8
35394 Gießen
Telephone: 0641-7006 2040
Fax: 0611-327663040

Source: FFH Radio

Large-scale police operation in Gießen in the evening. In the run-up to the Eritrea culture festival, there were massive riots.

The attackers were participants in a meeting against the culture festival, the Gießen police said. Accordingly, a larger protest group climbed over the fence to the Hessenhallen and attacked helpers who were busy setting up the festival. Iron rods and knives were apparently also used. Police officers deployed there had stones thrown at them. They responded by using batons and pepper spray.

Several injured

In addition to the festival helpers, a few police officers were also slightly injured. There is currently no overview of how many people were injured. The police speak of an unknown number of mostly slightly injured people.

Police needed massive reinforcements

Police forces from the police headquarters in Central Hesse, Frankfurt am Main, North Hesse, East Hesse, South-East Hesse and South Hesse as well as the Hessian riot police were brought together in Gießen. The forces arrested several people provisionally. They were later released, but investigations are now underway into allegations of breach of the peace and assault.

Festival has been controversial for years

The culture festival was canceled by police order, and the counter-demonstration was ended by the organizer after the incident. There are regular protests because of the festival. Critics see it as a propaganda event for the dictatorial state.



  1. I firmily sapport the Eritrean opposition to the henous gmt. of Eritrea.
    I condemn the German selfish decision not to stop the festival, remember our people for many years made opposition peacefully, but all theses compleasance of western countries have to understand, that there is a limit to all.
    Now, the resposability is of German government, and the Embacy of unelected gmt. Of Eritrea.

  2. I condemn The selfish decision Germany they should stop 🛑 this festival because they was asking legally to stop. This festival is not cultural festival this is hate speech 🎤 propagandist speech 🎤 and collect money 💴 from Europe countries To support the dictatorship who lead the country 31 years without any election 🗳 with no freedom no democracy no constitution no full electricity no courts and unlimited national imagine this festival get permission in Germany 🇩🇪democratic country gives a chance for this kind of festival. That’s why the young Eritrean generation left the country to find better life how this dictatorship follows them.

  3. This should galvanise Eritrean democratic forces and their international friends to push for a ban of all PFDJ events worldwide immediately.

    Well done Germany and members of the diaspora!

    If these PFDJ thugs want to celibate Isaias’ regime then they should do it in Asmara from where they fled claiming persecution.

    These are fake asylum seekers that should be returned to Eritrea immediately. Clearly, if they love the regime and want to dance all night to its tune, they need no protection. Their places should be given to those who are in need. And there are millions of refugees worldwide that need genuine protection.

    These PFDJ thugs need no protection. They are scams and should be send back to Eritrea immediately.

  4. No more place for dictators!! The Eritrean people have been suffered for decades by the brutal Regime of Issayas Afwerki. No human rights, No due process of law, indefinite military service, daily life governed by the law of the jungle. In order to continue and prolonged the dictatorial regime and to shift the focus of the Eritrean people for democratization, the Regime create an initiated war with all the Neighbors. So dictatorial festivals of hate and terrors must not be accepted by all democratic Nations as well by those innocent Eritreans who fled and escaped in thousands. The German government must look it very seriously and such dictatorial festival of hate and terror must be denied.

  5. The brudual dictatorial regiem is over stretching. YPFDJ thugs should not be tolerated. brudual regiem must be condemned by any means. Justice to the innocent people of eritrea, death to dictators.

  6. Yesterday’s cause, today’s result!

    The mission of these groups, who came in the name of the “shield Culture Group,” (BAHLAWI GUJLE WALTA) is to be sent to our destruction by our enemy, the government, which forced us to emigrate.
    These people are not sent for cultural entertainment, but to make hate speech and campaigns and to preach that the genocide committed against the people of Tigray is right.They also have the message that Eritrea and Russia are right, comparing the Russian war against Ukraine to the genocide committed by the Eritrean government against the Tigrayan people.And all these sent from the Eritrean government, we do not distinguish them from our enemy in our country because they have no message of peace.This is evidenced by everything from their military uniforms to their hate songs at their rally in Sweden.
    We Eritreans as a people , have no hatred towards any people. Our only enemy is the government in our country. Therefore, we will not get involved in the hatred and war he is waging on behalf of our people. And the wars and conflicts it wages do not represent us.

    These people who sided with the Eritrean government and fought with the opposition section of their people, who had previously sought asylum in Germany at the beginning of their exile saying “my government wronged me, forced me into forced labor, I could not live in my country. ..etc They are sympathetic to the government they claim to have wronged, supporting, advocating, encouraging war, and spending their money on weapons of war.
    The main responsible for the accident in Germany are the mayor of Giessen, who ignored the voices of the protesters and minimized the potential danger and allowed the celebration, and the police who did not take the matter seriously despite receiving thousands of emails. I do not believe that this issue is the result of a misjudgment of the potential danger in advance, but of the opposition.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.