If you read across this morning's German news of Koln's demonstrations yesterday (Saturday)....it's a simple story.
Pegida groups met up and were conducting a demonstration in mid-afternoon. Based on who you read....it's somewhere between 1,000 and 1,700 demonstrators.....who are readily identified by three-quarters of the news media as 'hooligans'.
On the opposite of things were a pro-Merkel-and-immigration demonstration group (I'd probably call them the anti-hooligans for the sake of this essay). They numbered between 1,500 and 2,500 (depending on who you read).
Then in the middle were the cops.....way more than the 140-odd cops that were there on the night of the 31st when the refugee sexual assault episode unfolded. No one wants to guess the number of the cops.....but I'd take a healthy guess that a minimum of 500 of them were on the streets....based on video that I've seen from Channel One (state-run news).
The water-cannon was brought out by the cops and used on the Pegida/hooligan crowd....NOT on the pro-Merkel-and-immigration demonstration group. The logical reason given was that the Pegida/hooligan crowd used bricks and stones to throw at the cops and journalists.
Who made up the pro-Merkel-and-immigration crowd? Video of the group reflects mostly women. The interviews conducted and shown on state-run news were mostly of women who said they were against sexual assaults, violence, and hooligans. One might grin over the list....it covered all necessary topics of someone's political agenda.
Based on the number of angles to the demonstrations.....state-run news must have had at least three or four crews working the Saturday demonstration.....way more than the evening of the 31st (zero).
I had to go over to five different sites to get a plain and simple definition to hooligans or hooliganism. It's not a term that Americans typically use.
Generally, it means a young guy who belongs to a informal group/club, and they commit acts of vandalism, public damage (structures, cars, etc), and engage in physical fights (mostly with cops). Their chief goal is to cause shock and disorder. Note, nowhere in this description does robbery or theft get mentioned, and it's one of the odd characteristics of a hooligan (perhaps a code of conduct, but who knows?).
There are some problems in the German news media usage. I looked at the video coverage and I'd say about a quarter of the group were older guys (say over the age of forty).....so they can't be defined as hooligans. Also, from the few shots that I saw.....there were some guys throwing rocks or stones, but the bulk (way more than three-quarters) were just in some peaceful mode or chanting some slogan. I might also note that you could tell there were different factions among the Pegida/anti-immigration crowd.....so to say that they were all violent or all extremist....was wrongly defined by the news media.
Where this leads onto? Fasching season is barely four weeks away, and the public in Koln are viewing the events of the 31st, the leadership shown by the authorities in Koln, the demonstration yesterday, the addition of Pegida into the mix, and reactions from political crowd in Berlin (lot of tough talk over the past couple of days from almost all political parties).
It's difficult to project how things will unfold for Fasching. If I lived in the local area....I'd probably cross off the week for partying and attending the parade, and just stay home. I admit.....I'm the 'safe-American' who observes no-go areas, and walks around demonstrations for the most part. If a quarter of the normal crowd just says 'no' and stays home.....it'll create a media-hype situation that state-run news can't really explain and will probably just skip the subject (staying silent).