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Good Friday dance ban upheld

April 7, 2012

Members of the Pirate Party failed in their attempt to overturn a ban on dancing in public on Good Friday. Demonstrations planned for Friday were also banned, though some took place online.

People dance in an old-fashioned Berlin club
Image: AP

The Constitutional Court threw out the case, because it should have first been heard by a lower, federal instance, a spokesman for the country's top court told the DPA news agency.

The Pirate Party turned to the court after plans to demonstrate against a Hesse state law restricting dancing in public were banned. Both the Pirates and the youth branch of the Greens had intended to protest by staging flashmobs in several cities, including Frankfurt.

"Motivated by religious reasons, the state law intervenes in an unacceptable way in public liberty," said Hesse Pirate Party chief Christian Hufgard, adding that they would continue their efforts to have the ban lifted.

Dance events are banned in Hesse from Maundy Thursday at 4 a.m. until the following Saturday at midnight. Dancing is also forbidden on Easter Sunday and Monday between 4 a.m. and noon, just as it is on all other official holidays.

Despite the bans on dancing demonstrations, around 30 protesters gathered in Kassel for "dance figure displays," in which the participants listened to music through headphones.

The Young Greens moved their demonstration online, calling on people to dance in private homes on Good Friday and post videos of their actions on the group's Facebook page. Numerous videos were posted over the course of the day.

Hesse's Protestant Church defended the ban.

"The holiday culture of our country demands respect - also from those for whom the content means nothing," said Hesse-Nassau Church President Volker Jung.

Protests against the Good Friday dancing ban have taken place for years around Easter.

ncy/ai (dpa, epd)