While the Interior Ministry denies even the existence of no-go zones in Germany, officers report that Lebanese crime clans have made neighbourhoods across North Rhine-Westphalia almost impossible to police. At around 10 o’clock last Tuesday evening, police were called by concerned residents who alerted them to a mass brawl taking place outside a family restaurant in Erkrath-Hochdahl.
Around 150 members of a Lebanese extended family and about two dozen
bikers from a Hells Angels chapter, many of them also with a Lebanese
background, were fighting one another with fists and broom handles.
A significant deployment of police arrived at the scene after the
bikers had eventually barricaded themselves in a nearby pub. More than
100 officers were involved in trying to settle the dispute between the
two groups and a police helicopter monitored the situation from the air,
all of which lasted until the early hours of the morning.
Police report that the two groups have clashed before, beating each
other with sticks and batons in another fight in August which required
more than 100 police officers to bring the situation under control.
The two factions claim their confrontation in August was about an
argument over a parking lot but police believe the sides’ enmity is part
of a bigger dispute between the two clans.
do not know the true background. It is certainly not a biker war.
Rather, we believe that this is a dispute between two clans, with the
connections the biker group has,” Mettmann District police spokesman
Ulrich Löhe said.
The Cologne City Gazette notes
that the confrontation would likely reignite the ongoing debate over
the politically sensitive issue of no-go areas. Christian Democratic
Union (CDU) interior expert Gregor Golland recently warned: “In North
Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) there are districts where clans have taken over
the streets. After sunset, people and the authorities no longer dare
leave the house.”
Asserting that areas of Germany are spiralling into lawlessness,
Mr. Golland said: “We must be careful that these districts not slip
The Gazette reports that gangs and clans have taken control in
neighbourhoods across the state’s metropolises including Duisburg,
Gelsenkirchen, Essen, Cologne, Dortmund, Aachen, and Bochum. Violence
against the police has risen as much as 50 per cent in many of these
In the Duisberg district of Marxloh last summer, a female police
officer was heavily beaten by a mob from a Lebanese clan while recording
a traffic accident. Her colleague was only able to restrain the
attackers by drawing his handgun.
In December last year, the police chief of Gelsenkirchen met with
leaders of the Lebanese clans after months of violence. The men made
clear that they weren’t wanting to negotiate peaceful coexistence with
the force, telling him the police “will not win a war with the Lebanese,
because we are too many.”
Members of the “Family Union” clan were unimpressed when the police
chief announced the force planned to send more officers to “problem
areas” in the town.
According to an internal police report, the men said: “The country
has no money to be using so many policemen to seek confrontation with
Germany’s Home Office completely denies the existence of no-go areas.
Interior Minister Ralf Jäger said: “In North Rhine-Westphalia there are
no lawless areas. The NRW police drive their police cars down every
street in every district.”
Interior expert Golland said he considers the Interior Minister’s
statement “window dressing”. “People that address the problems are
denounced as traitors”. Similarly, the Free Democratic Party’s interior
expert Marc Lürbke told the Gazette: “Certain districts are now
associated with significant risks for state officials.”
The staffing situation of NRW’s police force remains difficult.
Responding to a question about how the number of cases of pickpocketing
in Cologne is skyrocketing, the Interior Ministry’s department head said
policing would need to be “thinned out” in rural areas. The result,
Wolfgang Düren admitted, is that police can now only afford to give “a
minimum level of protection for the population”.
The police union in the state (GdP) is viewing the situation in no-go
zones with concern. GdP board member Volker Husz said: “The problem
districts have significantly worsened in recent years.
“Officials are insulted and threatened while they record traffic
accidents, ambulance workers are attacked. We cannot let [this