WEITERSTADT – Around 50 truckers and their trucks have been on strike for days at the Gräfenhausen gas station on the A5 near Weiterstadt (Darmstadt-Dieburg). They went on strike because they have not received any money from the large Polish transport company they drive for for more than fifty days. The situation worsened on Good Friday.

Violent altercations broke out around 11 am on Friday when the owner of the Polish company, accompanied by several people, tried to access the parked trucks. The delegation looked more like a paramilitary unit than a transport company delegation, German media reported on Friday.

Some of the men drove tank-like vehicles into the parking lot, some even wearing bulletproof vests. His job was apparently to intimidate the truckers and, if necessary, use force to drive the trucks away.

Stefan Körzell, board member of the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB), talks on Twitter about “rogues from Poland” who tried to “steal” the drivers’ trucks. Edwin Atema from FNV Transport in Logistiek was also present at the climb.

Police were on the scene with a large number of officers and dogs to prevent the impending escalation. According to the police, they managed to settle the conflict under the threat of using pepper spray and batons. A total of nineteen people were arrested on Friday, including the owner of the Polish transport company.

According to the police, all the detainees were released on Saturday night. Those involved in the incident are now suspected of, among other things, serious disorderly conduct, threats, coercion, attempted dangerous bodily harm and disruption of a meeting.

While searching people and vehicles Friday, officers found two knives, a mouth guard and pepper spray.

“The drivers are happy that the situation has calmed down again,” said trade unionist Körzell, who witnessed the incident at the scene, and thanked the police for their quick intervention. The groups were separated from each other with adhesive tape.

According to Körzell, the owner had brought not only security personnel, but also replacement drivers in three small vans. They said they had been taken from their own trucks at other rest areas overnight and taken to Gräfenhausen.

“The fact that the owner of the transport company sends a paramilitary gang including an armored car to Germany to put down a truckers’ protest with a martial threat is a scandalous fact,” Körzell said. “That has to have consequences.”

Edwin Atema and Körzell call on large companies such as Ikea, Volkswagen and DHL to stop doing business with the Polish transport company.