News from Berlin and Germany, 20th September 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Fridays for Future” attracts several thousand people in Berlin

Thousands of climate activists marched through downtown Berlin last Friday during a protest march organized by “Fridays for Future”. The police said there were around 12,500 participants, the organisers counted 24,000 demonstrators. Nationwide, there were an estimated 250,000 demonstrators. From the Brandenburg Gate, people marched through Berlin’s government district. The climate protection group “Last Generation” also took part in it. With so-called climate strikes at schools and protests in 245 places in Germany, as well as other cities around the world, “Fridays for Future” wanted to campaign for more measures for global climate protection. It was the 13th global climate strike. Source: rbb

Climate activists spray paint on the Brandenburg Gate

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin-Mitte was sprayed last Sunday. All six pillars of the Berlin landmark were painted, and 14 people were arrested. The “Last Generation” group said in a statement it was responsible for the action, using repurposed fire extinguishers. Berlin’s governing mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) criticised the action. “With these actions, this group is not only damaging the historic Brandenburg Gate, but also our free discourse about the important issues of our time and future.” Last Generation announced “new weeks of action” last Wednesday. The goal is for Germany to completely abandon fossil fuels from 2030, said spokeswoman Carla Hinrichs. Source: rbb

Mobile service will get better on Berlin public transport

Anyone who has tried to make a call on their mobile phone or send a WhatsApp message on some of Berlin’s U-Bahn lines knows the struggle. From March 2024, however, this should be a problem of the past. O2 has announced it will complete its expansion of mobile coverage throughout the U-Bahn network in Berlin. However, widespread 5G service will have to wait a bit longer, though once the 4G network has been expanded this step should be easier. So far there has been no discussion to expand the free WiFi services, which are available at all of Berlin’s U-Bahn stations, onto the trains themselves. Source: iamexpat



AfD under observation

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution in Bavaria has been permitted to monitor the AfD as an entire party in the Free State and inform the public about it. That was the Bavarian Administrative Court in Munich decision in an urgent procedure, announced last Friday. As early as June 2022, the Bavarian State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (LfV) decided to monitor the AfD as a whole party using both public and intelligence resources. The authority justified this by saying that it wanted to find out what influence extremist tendencies had within the entire party and in which direction the party was developing. Source: taz

Neo-Nazi group “Hammerskins” banned

The police began taking action against suspected right-wing extremists nationwide starting early Tuesday. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the action is directed against the neo-Nazi group “Hammerskins Deutschland”. The investigators are targeting 28 groups in a total of ten federal states. The reason for the raid is a ban imposed by Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) on the organisation as a whole and its regional branches as well as the sub-organisation “Crew 38”. The reason given is that the group is directed against the constitutional order and the principle of international understanding. Source: rbb

CDU makes AfD socially acceptable

The Federal Chancellor, Olaf Scholz (SPD) recently said: “Nobody should depend on how the AfD votes,” meaning that a party should not depend on how the AfD votes to pas a law. This is exactly what the CDU in Erfurt have done, implementing a tax cut cruically with the votes of the AfD, with the justification that it was about “relieving the burden on families”. This is disinformation. It is not about parents and children who urgently need support, but only effects households who can afford to build their own home. Source: nd-akutell

Corona vaccination season starts

Doctors’ practices nationwide are again offering booster vaccinations against the coronavirus. A total of around 14 million doses of the BioNTech vaccine are to be distributed to doctors’ practices. Vaccines from the manufacturers Moderna and Novavax will also be offered – all adapted to new variants of the pathogen. However, the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) of the Robert Koch Institute has in general recommended a booster vaccination to people who are 60 years of age or older. Previous measures such as contact restrictions are not currently into consideration since large number of severe courses are not expected. Source: tagesschau

ZDF reveals the poor state of digitisation in Germany

A documentary by German broadcaster ZDF has exposed failures of the country’s digital literacy. “Digital Fail – Deutschland in Datenstau” looks at Germany’s slow fibre-optic expansion, e-government, among others things. From situations where a gamer is forced to pause his career because of low-quality internet connection, to accomplishing simple tasks such as uploading photo files to the internet, the country faces connectivity problems. For instance, BAföG (the government-funded student loan available for EU citizens), online applications must be printed out and physically filed. The country has to change it’s mindset. Source: iamexpat

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