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Bonn Demonstration against the Emergency Laws – I (May 11, 1968)
At the end of May 1968, during the government of the Grand Coalition, the Bundestag passed the so-called Emergency Laws in the face of strong extra-parliamentary opposition. These laws curtailed some basic civic rights in order to expand the state's ability to act in crisis situations (natural catastrophes, revolts, war). Critics from unions, churches, and universities who opposed the measures saw the changes to the constitution as a threat to democracy. The days prior to the passage of the Emergency Laws saw numerous protests, including this one in Bonn on May 11, 1968. The banner in the background reads: "It is the obligation of every democrat to fight against the 'Emergency State.'" Photo by Kurt Rohwedder.