News from Berlin and Germany: 17th April 2021

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany


Compiled by Ana Ferreira



Cycle path instead of motorway

Many people protested last Saturday against the expansion of the A100 motorway. The bicycle convoy went from the Neukölln slip road to the Tempelhofer Damm exit directly at Tempelhofer Feld – around 4,000 participants were estimated, almost all of them wearing FFP2 masks. Specifically, it is about the 16th construction section of the A100, which is currently under construction and supposed to lead the corridor to Treptower Park, as well as the planned 17th construction section up to Storkower Straße in Lichtenberg. The activists presented their visions of a car-free and liveable city in front of Scheuer’s Federal Ministry of Transport. Source: nd

Rent freeze for the whole country

This decision by the Federal Constitutional Court will affect the entire republic. Quite a few people in Berlin fear that the court will overturn the rent cap because Berlin has no legislative competence, since tenancy law is federal law. But it could also be that the judges will only criticise individual aspects of Berlin’s red-red-green attempt to end the rent madness in the capital. It is positive anyway the Federal Constitutional Court is announcing its decision and thus most likely putting an end to the miserable legal saga that has been going on for a year now. Source: nd

Party tram through the Görli provokes resistance

SPD, Left Party and the Greens agree that a focus on public transport is central to climate policy in Berlin. However, a proposal by the Senator Regine Günther (Greens) to expand the tram network is causing trouble. Specifically, it is about the planned routing of the M10 line, which is to be extended at one end to Beusselstraße in Moabit and at the other from Warschauer Straße via Kreuzberg to Hermannplatz in Neukölln. The extension of the tramway from Weißensee to Pankow threatens to damage the green urban idyll, for instance. Because of it, protests by the well-organised allotment gardeners can be expected. Source: nd


AfD Out of touch with reality

The AfD, with ever more radical political objectives, is trying to retain core voters and recruit new ones. With deliberate vagueness, it is making space in which as many people as possible can find themselves, from bourgeois conservatives to reactionaries. This anything-goes is evident in decisions such as the one in favour of Germany leaving the EU, decided at the party conference in Dresden. The conservatism of the AfD is exclusively backward-looking. With its advertising campaign, the party suggests that the problems of the present can be solved by taking Germany back to earlier decades. Source: zeit

Doctor on trial because of offering abortions

The next gynaecologist is on trial: Detlef Merchel from Nottuln in Münsterland was charged with Paragraph 219a. This prohibits doctors from providing information on their websites about how they perform abortions. The trial against Merchel will take place at the Coesfeld district court at the end of May. “I have been providing information about abortions online for more than 15 years,” says the doctor. Other doctors, the general practitioner Kristina Hänel and the gynaecologist Bettina Gaber were charged under the new version of section 219a and have filed a constitutional complaint. Supporters said there would be solidarity actions for Merchel, as well. Source: taz

Kurdish activist faces several years in prison

A Kurdish HDP activist in Hesse, “Nazdar“, was to be deported to Turkey. In an interview, she speaks about being almost deported to Turkey. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees rejected her asylum application in 2017, because she belongs to the Turkish opposition party HDP. There is a suspicion the deportation did not happen because “Nazdar“ offered passive resistance and refused to board the plane. In such cases, pilots sometimes refuse to take a passenger who is to be transported against his will. The Frankfurt district court will examine whether the rejection of her asylum application is legal at all. Source: jW

Stuttgart trial opens: right-wing terror group wanted to “abolish democratic system”

The trial of eleven members and one supporter of the alleged terrorist group “Gruppe S.” began on last Tuesday at the Stuttgart Higher Regional Court (OLG). In the indictment, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office accused the defendants of having founded a terrorist organisation in Alfdorf (Rems-Murr district), Minden (North Rhine-Westphalia) and Berlin. The intention was to murder or kill and to bring about civil war-like conditions, with its first concrete targets as mosques in March 2020. However, the group was arrested one month earlier. The men are said to have arranged to meet via internet chats, and they also made use of connections to already existing neo-Nazi groups. Source: swr

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