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Socialist Democratic Student Association Flyer on the Death of Benno Ohnesorg (June 3, 1967)

The killing of a bystander named Benno Ohnesorg during a demonstration against the visiting Shah of Iran shocked and infuriated Berlin students. Police brutality, false reporting by the media, and the insensitivity of the Social-Democratic mayor seemingly proved the repressiveness of "the system."

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Flyer of the Social Democratic Student Association (SHB), Berlin: “Student Slain”

Yesterday evening Berlin police officers killed Benno Ohnesorg, 26, a student at the Free University. He was part of a group of German and Persian demonstrators who were protesting the Shah of Persia’s visit. Governing mayor Heinrich Albertz, representing our city, justified the brutal actions of the Berlin police in a press statement on Saturday morning. He attempted to blame the demonstrators for the killing of Benno Ohnesorg.

It is a fact that:

The events in front of the German Opera House have shown that, contrary to the governing mayor’s account, the police provoked harsh clashes. Police squads threw demonstrators off a construction fence. Then they dragged individuals over the barriers and beat them within sight of the others. The police refused to hand out cards with their badge numbers on them.

It was not until after these clashes that demonstrators were told to clear Bismarckstrasse and the adjoining Krumme Strasse. Water cannons were deployed at the same time. Scattered students and youths were forced into building entranceways and courtyards by police raiders in plainclothes and uniforms and were then brutally clubbed down. Benno Ohnesorg was fatally injured during one of these actions.

Demonstrators gathered one more time on Kurfürstendamm. There, police tried to mobilize the public against them. Police made a false report over the loudspeakers that an officer had been stabbed by demonstrators.

So these are some facts about the police action on the evening of June 2.

We have ascertained that:

The police action was aimed at beating up individual demonstrators to serve as a deterrent. When the beating started, the intention was not to protect the Shah, as he was already inside the opera house.

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