News from Berlin and Germany, 19th June 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Görlitzer Park: preparations for “Day Z”

The battle lines are clearly drawn – and they continue to harden. Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg has been a real hotspot for years. Various politicians have been trying to make the park safer, so far without success. Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) is now trying to build up a fence. Although it is not yet clear on which day the construction work will start, the Senate is already preparing for “Day Z,” i.e. the day the fence is built. A demonstration at Spreewaldplatz is also already planned for the day the fence arrives. Source: berlin-live

Student expulsions in Berlin: repression instead of victim protection

Criticism of the reintroduction of regulatory law at universities continues. In an open letter, student representatives have spoken out against the plan, which would also allow violent students to be expelled again. “The draft law opens the door to the control of students’ attitudes and political sanctions,” the letter states. The letter was signed by the student representatives of Freie Universität, Humboldt-Universität, Technische Universität and the Berlin University of Applied Sciences. For Tobias Schulze (Die Linke), the draft law does nothing to protect victims. However, the bill passed another hurdle: the Science Committee voted in favour of the project. Source: nd


Education minister wants to sack state secretary

Federal Education Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger (FDP) wants to have her State Secretary Sabine Döring temporarily retire. This follows a request to investigate possible consequences for university lecturers who had signed an open letter on how to deal with pro-Palestinian protests at Berlin universities, reported by the ARD magazine Panorama . The report, based on internal emails, triggered significant criticism. In a “Statement by Lecturers at Berlin Universities,” more than 100 lecturers criticised the eviction of a protest camp of pro-Palestinian demonstrators at the Freie Universität Berlin in May. Source: tagesschau

Dancing against the AfD

Mobilisation is underway throughout Germany against the national party conference that the AfD, which has been classified as a suspected right-wing extremist party by the Münster Higher Administrative Court, plans to hold in Essen at the end of June. “We are expecting 70,000 to 100,000 people to demonstrate against the AfD in Essen,” says Katharina Schwabedissen, spokesperson for the “Widersetzen” initiative. It is plain that “no violence and no escalation” will come from the protesters – instead, the initiative is calling for creative actions: “People can dance, make music, draw on the street with chalk. Maybe even clowns will come,” says Schwabedissen. Source: taz

Grevesmühlen: officials decry racist attack on young girls

Police said that an 8-year-old Ghanaian girl and her 10-year-old sister were attacked by a group of around 20 teenagers and young adults late last Friday. The attack occurred in the town of Grevesmühlen in the northeastern German state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Police mentioned the attackers kicked the younger girl in the face, after which the girl’s parents intervened. The 8-year-old girl and her father sustained mild injuries and were hospitalized. According to police reports, one of the suspected attackers continued to direct racist insults at the victims after officers arrived at the scene. Source: dw

German education system is “at the limit”

Many young people in Germany continue to leave school without any qualifications. In 2022, the number was 52,300, according to the National Education Report, presented in Berlin on Monday. According to the report, the proportion of young people in an age cohort who did not graduate from school rose to 6.9%. The number of actual dropouts is likely to be even higher, as young people who leave school during an ongoing school year are not counted. The Education Report, which runs to several hundred pages, is compiled every two years. According to the authors, the education system is working at the limit. Source: focus

“Ende Gelände” classified as a suspected left-wing extremist organisation

The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution has categorised the climate protection movement “Ende Gelände” as a suspected case of left-wing extremism. This means that the domestic intelligence service can now also use intelligence services, such as surveillance or informants, to assess the movement’s activities. The constitution protection report for the year 2023, which was published on Tuesday, speaks of an “intensification of forms of action up to and including sabotage.” According to the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, policy papers from “Ende Gelände” also “clearly indicate a radicalisation with regard to the group’s prevailing ideological positions.” Source: rbb24

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