News from Berlin and German, 23 June 2022

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



New blockades cause traffic jams in Berlin

Demonstrators calling for more climate protection blocked several exits of the A 100 city motorway in Berlin again on last Tuesday. According to the police, groups of around seven to ten people blocked the exits at a time. There was a traffic jam on the motorway during rush hour. Only on Monday, there happened brief blockades of motorway exits at numerous locations. The initiative Letzte Generation (Last Generation) plans daily interruptions of road traffic in Berlin in the future – until Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) credibly declares that there will be no oil drilling in the North Sea. Source: rbb.

Population figures in Berlin and Brandenburg rise again

The number of residents in Berlin and Brandenburg rose last year compared to 2020. At the end of 2021, around 13,400 more people lived in the federal capital than a year earlier – a total of around 3.68 million people. In Brandenburg, there was an increase of around 6,800 inhabitants, with a total of around 2.54 million people living in the federal state, as the Federal Statistical Office averaged on Monday. Berlin thus recorded a plus of 0.4 per cent and, together with Schleswig-Holstein, had the highest increase in Germany. In absolute numbers, however, the population in Bavaria increased the most. Source: rbb.

Massive criticism of Giffey’s prestige project

The “Alliance for New Housing Construction and Affordable Housing”, an agreement between the Senate, districts, real estate groups, cooperatives, state-owned housing companies and others was signed on Monday afternoon in Berlin’s “Rotes Rathaus”. However, some stakeholders have not signed. Among them, the Berlin Tenants’ Association, which has withdrawn from the staging shortly before the signing because, among other things, it felt the agreement lacked “binding statements with broad impact” on tenant protection. The German Federation of Trade Unions (DGB) and the IG BAU union also refused to join the alliance. Asked about the critics, Franziska Giffey (SPD) answered: “For me, the glass is half full, always”. Source: nd.



 “Germany as a leading power”

SPD leader Lars Klingbeil calls for more of Germany’s influence in the EU. “Germany must claim to be a leading power. After almost 80 years of restraint, Germany now has a new role in the international system of coordinates,” he said on last Wednesday at the event “Zeitenwende – der Beginn einer neuen Ära” of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung. Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) also emphasized: “We must think beyond Nato”. Besides, the representation of large states like Germany and smaller countries, which are favoured in the EU Parliament, has long been contested, too. For instance, Germany did not receive any vacant seats in the EU Parliament after Brexit. Source: taz.

Against hate on the net

Police officers in 15 federal states searched the homes of 75 suspects accused of hate speech on the internet on last Monday. A total of 150 suspects are being investigated in 172 cases of criminally relevant statements, Rhineland-Palatinate Interior Minister Roger Lewentz (SPD) said in Mainz, “When words are used like weapons, consistent state action is required.” The investigation is being conducted by the “Hate Speech” investigation group at the Rhineland-Palatinate LKA, which was set up after the killing of two police officers on 31 January in the West Palatinate district of Kusel. Source: Augsburger Allgemeine.

Palestinian author disinvited

The Palestinian human rights activist, writer and journalist Mohammed El-Kurd was supposed to speak at Kampnagel in Hamburg this week. “Beyond the Lone Offender – Dynamics of the Global Right” was the title of the forum, hosted by the Goethe-Institut. But the Institut disinvited him from the event. The reason: “He had repeatedly expressed himself in social media posts about Israel in a form that the Goethe-Institut does not find acceptable.” Mohammed El-Kurd was considered by Time magazine one of the 100 most influential people in the world in 2021. Other participants have shown solidarity. Source: nd.



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