Bayern Munich fans have raised their concerns about a new law that widens the powers of Bavarian police. Germany’s football fans association wants protests against the law, which they say affects “almost all of us.”
According to the new amendment to Bavaria’s police law, in the case of “imminent danger,” officers will be allowed to intercept phone conversations, emails and data, as well as ban individuals from certain locations and put a person under “preventive detention” for up to three months, without the suspect facing a court.
It has been described by legal experts and civil rights activists as the “toughest police law since 1945,” the end of World War II. German media also reported that a few other German states are looking to toughen their police laws, including the country’s most populated state, North Rhine-Westphalia.
It is not yet clear what “imminent danger” means, but Bavaria’s Interior Ministry — led by the CSU, the Bavarian sister party of Angela Merkel’s CDU — has already confirmed it will not apply to just counterterrorism operations. Germany’s association of football fans, Fanszenen Deutschland, is already wary of the effect it could have on football fans across Germany.
“Almost all of us are affected by the new law in Bavaria,” read a statement from the association. “When we travel to away games in Bavaria, police forces are already more aggressive than in other states. We ask ourselves, how will it be when they’ll have even more power?”
The association also asks whether the police will be able to apply the laws to fans who just travel within the state, even when their destination is not a Bavarian city. “Will police be able to tap into our phones then?”
Numerous fan groups have already protested against the law, with Bayern Munich’s Südkurve putting up a banner in the high-profile Champions League game against Real Madrid. In a message on their website, a confederation of Bayern’s active fan groups have described the move as “a serious cut in civil rights.”
“In essence, this is the abolition of separation between police and intelligence services, which was an important principle in the establishment of the Federal Republic of Germany, based on its experience with the Gestapo,” it read.
Fans of Borussia Dortmund, Stuttgart, Nürnberg and Fürth have also voiced concerns about the potential changes.
The new measures are set to be approved in Bavaria’s state parliament on May 15.