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“Is this a protest?”

“Is this a protest?”

Jesler in Freiburg

It’s a cold, dark Tuesday night. A group of six theatre geeks wrap up their conversation in front of the bar in which they’ve been talking about their upcoming production, gender and hierarchy in theatre, and the future in general. Time flew by inside, but by now everyone just wants to get home and wrap themselves up in a fluffy blanket as quickly as possible.

“Is this a protest?”   

A man tries to leave but is blocked by the group. Cigarette dangling from his mouth, he seems to be both suspicious and amused. The theatre nerds laugh and quickly make way for the man, negating his question. The man grins: "This is Freiburg, you never know." With those words, he heads out into the night. The group scatters shortly after - me heading for my bike.

On my way home, my thoughts kept coming back to this encounter. I hadn’t noticed it before, but the man couldn’t be more right. If a week goes by in which my path is not blocked by a peaceful protest, I start to worry. Whenever you have class and hear noise coming from outside, one person calmly strolls to the window, peeks outside, and declares: “This time it’s the nurses and doctors.”, or, “Ah, they’re protesting against Turkey.”, or, “I honestly don’t know, they have to start making bigger protest signs.”.

The love for protests and demonstrations seems to run in Freiburg’s blood. In fact, I am going on an excursion this Friday the 29th as part of one of my courses. And can you guess where? Exactly, the climate march. I suppose, with my big protest sign tucked under my arm, I’m finally turning into a real Freiburger. 

Jesler van Houdt

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