Rammstein fans, sex assault protesters face off at Swiss concert

  • Protesters and Rammstein fans clashed on Saturday night during the band’s concert.
  • This comes after several allegations of sexual assault were levelled against Rammsten frontman Till Lindemann.
  • Lindemann has denied the claims against him.

Around 150 protesters gathered outside a Bern stadium on Saturday, trying to out-shout thousands of Rammstein fans pouring in to see their favourite band, despite a wave of sexual assault claims.

Brandishing banners with messages such as “I believe her”, and “Stop the rape culture”, the small crowd raised their middle fingers towards the concert venue and the far-larger gathering of black-clad fans of the German metal band.

The fans responded in kind, with a line of police officers separating them.

Some 40 000 fans were expected for the sold-out concert at Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium, with another to follow on Sunday.

These are among the first concerts Rammstein have given since Berlin prosecutors this week opened an investigation against its frontman Till Lindemann following a slew of sexual assault claims.

Several women have come forward in recent weeks saying they were picked out at concerts and drugged to engage in sexual activity with Lindemann, 60, at Rammstein after-show parties.

The alleged assaults happened during an ongoing 35-date European stadium tour by the industrial metal band, known for grinding guitar riffs, taboo-breaking antics and theatrical stage shows heavy on pyrotechnics.

‘Not shocked’

The claims, which Lindemann has strenuously denied, did not dissuade the die-hard fans, decked out in black Rammstein T-shirts and many sporting tattoos of the band, flocking to the show.

“This doesn’t affect us. We’re not shocked at all,” said Marie Rouillon, a 51-year-old Frenchwoman at the concert with her husband Arnaud.

The couple, who said they had been Rammstein fans for 15 years and have attended seven previous concerts, said they would of course be shocked if it turned out the allegations were true.

“But would that stop us from seeing them? I don’t think so,” Marie said.

Lara Andermatt, 20, agreed.

“Maybe it’s true, maybe not, but I am here for the concert,” she said, adding that she was just super excited to finally see her favourite band live for the first time.

If the allegations turn out to be true, she said, “it’s not ok, but I will definitely still listen to Rammstein.”

ALSO READ | Universal halts Rammstein marketing amid abuse claims

Activists demonstrate in front of the stadium before the start of the concert of the band Rammstein. (Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images)

‘Closing a chapter’

Rachel Weyermann, a 24-year-old from Bern, meanwhile said this was her fourth Rammstein concert, but that she would not be able to continue listening to the band if there was proof the allegations were true.

“If I knew it was true, I think this would be my last concert,” she said.

The scandal erupted after a young Irish woman posted on social media that she had been drugged and propositioned by Lindemann at a backstage party in Vilnius.

A wave of similar stories has since emerged through platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

One 20-year-old women who spoke with AFP before Saturday’s concert, who gave her name only as Adriana, said she had been contacted ahead of the event by someone offering her a spot up front and after-show party access.

She said she had turned down that offer, but that she was eager to see the band she has worshipped for nearly a decade live for the first, and likely the last time.

“I am seeing them live today, it’s like closing a chapter for me.”

‘Scandalous’

The uproar around the allegations led to all after-show parties being cancelled at a series of Rammstein concerts in Munich last week.

It remained unclear if any after parties would be held following the two concerts in Bern this weekend.

Young Socialists Switzerland (JS), the Social Democratic Party’s youth movement, and a number of feminist groups had launched a petition urging the promoters to call off the Bern gigs, which was signed by more than 7,500 people.

“We are clearly very disappointed that that didn’t work,” deputy-secretary Mathilde Mottet told AFP at Saturday’s protest.

“You have 40 000 people coming to watch a potential rapist… It’s completely scandalous.”

Holding up a bullhorn, she and others led the protesters in a series of dances and chants, amid a chorus of boos from some of the fans as they began to file into the hall.

One chant repeated frequently and angrily was: “Till Verschwindemann” , translated to “Till, get lost, man”.¬†


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