News from Berlin and Germany, 22nd November 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Thousands of people demonstrate against the war in Gaza

A pro-Palestinian demonstration marched from Invalidenpark in Berlin towards the Tiergarten district last Saturday. The number of registered participants was 10,000, while the police spoke of around 4,000 demonstrators. At the start of the rally many people shouted: “Freedom for Gaza” and “Freedom for Palestine”. The protest was announced as a silent march, however – no slogans were to be shouted for 15 minutes around 4 pm out of respect for the victims in Gaza. The police also had issued conditions in advance, read out by a demonstration leader. Among other things, no flags or other objects were to be burnt. Source: rbb24

Olympia ’36: when German megalomania craves renewal

The 2036 Olympics in Berlin are being seriously discussed. But… a new Olympic bid from Berlin? The discussion has been going on for years. When the Greens and, above all, the Left Party were in government in the German capital, this was more difficult to implement. However, arguments about a “green Olympics” show the extent to which history has been forgotten. The discussion also highlights the Eurocentric worldview behind some campaigns against the Olympics or football World Cups organized in countries of the Global South. Source: telepolis

Berlin Senate agrees on Tempelhofer Feld law

After weeks of dispute, the black-red Senate in Berlin has agreed to amend the Tempelhofer Feld Act. As Senate spokeswoman Christine Richter confirmed, the “Refugee Task Force” headed by Governing Mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) was able to seal the agreement on Tuesday. Environment Senator Manja Schreiner (CDU) will now introduce a new bill, which the Senate is expected to pass in a week’s time. The number of temporary refugee accommodations on Coumbiadamm will be increased, but the use of an area to the southwest of the airport building on Tempelhofer Damm is now off the table. The CDU particularly wanted to build social meeting places for refugees there. Source: rbb24


Höcke top AfD candidate in Thuringia

Björn Höcke will lead the Thuringian AfD into the 2024 state election campaign as its top candidate. The 51-year-old Höcke was elected first on the list with 187 votes in favour, 26 against, and two abstentions at a meeting in Pfiffelbach near Weimar. There were no opposing candidates. The entire list still has to be voted on as a package at the meeting, which will last several days. Höcke, who is the state party and parliamentary group leader in Thuringia, reiterated his goal of participating in government. The AfD wants to “pose the question of power” in the state elections. Source: junge Welt

Outrage after a Taliban speaks at German mosque

German politicians demanded answers after the head of Afghanistan’s food and drug body spoke in Cologne. Abdul Bari Omar was previously in the Netherlands for a World Health Organization (WHO) event. The event in the German city was held by an Afghan cultural association at the Chorweiler Mosque, whose umbrella organization, DITIB, sharply criticized the incident. The Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) also objected, affirming that “nobody is allowed to offer radical Islamists a stage in Germany.” “We protect many refugees from Afghanistan from the oppression of the Taliban,” she added. Source: dw

The Left Party: ready for the European election campaign

The Left Party is entering the European election campaign with party leader Martin Schirdewan and former sea rescuer Carola Rackete as its top duo. A party conference in Augsburg confirmed both with a large majority. They are running in a team with the trade unionist Özlem Demirel and the public assistance doctor Gerhard Trabert. The party’s European election programme focuses on asylum, climate protection, redistribution and disarmament. “Die Linke” is hoping for a fresh start after the break with Sahra Wagenknecht’s wing. The European elections will take place in Germany on 9 June 2024. Source: SZ

Top protestant church official resigns

Theologian Annette Kurschus, the head of Germany’s largest national protestant church federation (EKD), abruptly resigned both from her national post and as the most senior cleric for the region of Westphalia. She declared that recent reports of her knowing about alleged sexual abuse by a church employee years ago, in Siegen, were unfounded. Kurschus said the issue had nonetheless led to her decision to resign. She mentioned that the decision was a difficult one, affirming that the loss of public trust meant she could no longer help in the church’s work dealing with historical cases of sexual abuse. Source: dw

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