News from Berlin and Germany, 10th February 2022

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



New route on the Marggraf Bridge will probably not be built after all

The Left Party (“die Linke”) and the Berlin Passenger Association Igeb called for a demonstration on the Marggraff Bridge between Baumschulenweg and Schöneweide. Their aim is to ensure trams will still be able to cross the Spree in the future, given that this has become extremely unlikely after a serious planning error became known this week. The culprit is a group of public authorities, who once again torpedoed the expansion of public transport and could prevent the area in south-east Berlin from being better connected in the future. The project, valued at 175 million euros, is intended to significantly improve local transport in the area. Source: Tagesspiegel.

A100 blockades by activists lead to long traffic jams

Several blockades by environmentalists of exits of the Berlin city motorway in Tempelhof led to long traffic jams. In the meantime, the Britz motorway tunnel in Neukölln was also closed. The police temporarily arrested 13 demonstrators or took their personal details for charges. Protesters from the “Essen Retten – Leben Retten” initiative are demanding an end to food waste. They blocked the exits Tempelhofer Damm, Alboinstraße, and Sachsendamm during rush hour on Tuesday morning. Videos on the internet showed enraged and sometimes aggressive drivers trying to pull or drag sitting or lying blockaders off the road. Source: rbb.



Instead of arms deliveries to Ukraine, Germany will send field hospital

Germany’s defense minister stated that sending arms to Ukraine would not be helpful in defusing the current situation as fears of a Russian invasion continue to mount. “We are standing on Kyiv’s side. We have to do everything to de-escalate. Currently, arms deliveries would not be helpful in this respect; there is agreement on this in the German government,” said Minister of Defense Christine Lambrecht. In addition, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz told a news conference that in recent years, “Germany has not supported the export of lethal weapons.” Though arms deliveries are off the table, Germany does plan to send a field medical facility to Ukraine in February, Lambrecht said. Source: DW.


Corona deniers, Westernhagen and his song “Freiheit”

In 1990, Marius Müller-Westernhagen’s rock ballad “Freiheit’ became an anthem of liberation from the GDR dictatorship and German reunification. Most recently, however, opponents of vaccination, “lateral thinkers” and Corona deniers played the cult song during their protest marches against the Corona measures. The singer himself did not want to comment on this for a long time, as reported by “Deutschlandfunk”. On Friday evening, however, the 73-year-old made a clear statement: on Instagram and Facebook, Westernhagen posted a photo showing him being vaccinated. The rock star added just one word: “Freedom”. Source: rnd.

Anti-fascism as an enemy

Last July, the Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) wrote a guest article for the magazine Antifa of the Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten (VVN-BdA). In it, the then party leader of the Hessian SPD declared, after threatening letters of an “NSU 2.0”, the party should not back down from this. Since the VVN is listed in the Bavarian report on the protection of the constitution as “influenced by left-wing extremists”, politicians (CDU/CSU and the AfD), and the Springer press, now accuse her of having published in an “anti-constitutional paper”. Source: jW.

Asylum after five years of uncertainty

It took five years, but now the Venezuelan Refugee Commission (Conare) has come to a positive decision about the asylum application of the German leftists Thomas Walter and Peter Krauth. The refugees, who fled Germany 27 years ago, now have an unlimited right to stay in Venezuela. For the fellow campaigner Bernd Heidbreder, the decision came too late: the 60-year-old died of cancer last May. They allegedly tried to blow up a deportation prison. After 23 years in illegality, Walter and Krauth can now get in touch with their relatives again. Source: nd.

Baerbock expresses dismay at “war in the middle of Europe”

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock visited the frontline between Ukrainian government troops and the Russian-backed separatists to find out about the situation in the conflict region of Donbass. She returned from this visit with “very depressing feelings,” saying people there have lost everything from one day to the next. Once again, Baerbock spoke out in favour of a diplomatic solution to the conflict. Baerbock threatened Moscow at the same time: “Any further aggression would have massive consequences for the Russian side.” Baerbock met representatives of the Ukrainian government in Kiev on Monday, again underlining Germany’s support for the country. Source: Tagesspiegel.

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