News from Berlin and Germany, 17th April 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Protests after dissolution of the “Palestine Congress”

On Friday, the police broke up the “Palestine Congress” in Berlin. The Federal Minister of the Interior Nancy Faeser (SPD) praised the action taken. The organisers, on the other hand, sharply criticised the police. Hundreds of people gathered in Berlin-Mitte last Saturday afternoon for a demonstration against the ban. At its peak, the police counted 1,900 participants. The reason given by the assembly authorities was a video broadcast by a man who is banned from political activity in Germany for hate speech against Israel and Jews. Organisers are considering legal action against the police. Source: tagesschau

A widow fights for clarification

The refugee Hussam Fadl was shot dead by Berlin police in 2016 under unexplained circumstances, in a collective center in Moabit. There, a resident had allegedly sexually abused a six-year-old girl – Fadl´s daughter. The suspect was already handcuffed in the police car when Fadl stormed in a rage. Three police officers shot him four times from behind. He died shortly afterwards in hospital. The police later stated that he ran towards the suspect in the car with a knife in his hand. However, other witnesses did not see a knife. His wife, Zaman Gate, is suing the state of Berlin. Source: taz

U-Bahn driver allegedly calls passengers “criminal migrants”

According to a video posted on “X”, a train driver shouted out racist and xenophobic remarks to a group of passengers over the loudspeaker on the U9 line, as reported by Berliner Zeitung. Witnesses have reported that, shortly before the train doors closed at a stop, in order to leave the station, the subway driver made the following announcement: “Can the criminal migrants back away from the door so we can move on?”. At the time, a group of migrants and refugees were on the train who, according to witnesses, were shocked and confused by the driver’s announcement. Source: the-berliner



Entry ban for Varoufakis

Varoufakis, Secretary General of the left-wing pan-European party “Democracy in Europe Movement 2025” (Diem25), was due to speak at the controversial “Palestine Congress” in Berlin on Friday, which was broken up and banned by the police shortly after it began. “Anyone who spreads Islamist propaganda and hatred against Jews must know that such offences will be prosecuted”, a spokeswoman for the Federal Ministry of the Interior told taz on Monday. The BMI did not want to say what the 63-year-old Greek economist, politician and former finance minister was specifically accused of stating that “information on individual cases is “not possible”. Source: taz

Public funds: state funding is the AfD’s largest source of income

The far-right party AfD is heavily financed by public funds. This was shown by the party accountability reports, published by the Bundestag for 2022 – more recent figures are not yet available. At 10.4 million euros, the AfD received the lowest state partial funding of all parties in absolute terms in 2022. However, mainly due to very low income from membership fees of only around 3.8 million euros, this was a 44.9 per cent share of total income. By comparison, the SPD received around 47.7 million euros in state funding. However, this only accounted for 29.8 per cent of its total income. Source: tagesspiel

Self-determination: a trans rights law passed

In the past, anyone in Germany who wanted to change their gender identity in their documents had to overcome hurdles such as psychological reports with very intimate questions. In the end, the decision is made by a local court. But now, trans people as well as intersex people will be able to have their gender entry changed much more easily. The same applies to people who do not identify as either male or female. This is made possible by the new Self-Determination Act, which the German Bundestag passed last Friday. Support for the coalition’s law came from the Die Linke group. The CDU/CSU, AfD and the BSW refused to vote in favour. Source: dw

Most in favour of legalization

More than 80 per cent of the German population believe it is wrong that it is considered illegal for a pregnant woman to have an abortion after having counselling on the matter. This is the result of a representative population survey commissioned by the Federal Ministry for Women’s Affairs (BMFSFJ), according to taz. Around 75 per cent also believe that abortions should no longer be regulated in the penal code in future. The voters of all parties represented in the Bundestag clearly reject the illegality of abortions. Almost 80 per cent of respondents also think it is right that the right to abortion was included in the French constitution. Source: taz

Tesla apparently wants to cut one in four jobs in Germany

The American electric car manufacturer Tesla has been reported to want to cut thousands of jobs in Grünheide (Oder-Spree). According to the report, around 3,000 of the 12,500 employees at the plant would have to be made redundant. The US newspaper “Business Insider” had reported rumours to this effect over the weekend. The car company has not yet commented on the media reports. According to rbb information, however, the specific number of jobs affected, is probably not accurate. In the past, Tesla has stated that the workforce in Grünheide is to be increased to 22,500 employees. Source: rbb

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