News from Berlin and Germany, 24th November 2022

Weekly news roundup from Berlin and Germany



Different election dates and loss of democracy

The ‘Berlin 2030 Climate Neutral’ alliance reacts with incomprehension to the statement of the administration of the interior on the separation of the Berlin elections and the referendum. The initiators of the referendum continue to assume that the two votes will happen on the same date. Thilo Cablitz, spokesperson for the Senator of the Interior, so far only cites supply chain problems with ballot papers as the reason for the separate votes. Already in October, however, Election Commissioner Prof. Dr. Stephan Bröchler made it clear he assumed that the referendum and the election would be combined. He had also already ordered the paper for the election. Source: klimaneustart

Lanterns for expropriation

“Investors, beware, the neighborhood dragon is awake:” a song written for this performance resounds through the streets. The 8th “resistance lantern procession against displacement,” organized by the Bizim Kiez initiative, took place on last Saturday evening. Despite the freezing cold 500 adults and children took part in the demonstration, according to the police. The parade under this year’s motto “Geht’s noch?!” traditionally takes place around St. Martin’s Day. Many children waved lanterns attached to ropes through the air. Meanwhile, their parents held up illuminated signs that read, for example, “Vote out Giffey and Geisel.” Source: taz

“Extinction Rebellion” blocks Adidas store in Berlin

Police forces broke up an action by climate activists in front of the Adidas flagship store in Berlin-Charlottenburg last Saturday. No people were injured, according to the police. The protesters allegedly obstructed customers entering the shop and pasted posters. However, the adhesive was water-soluble, so there was no damage to the property. The police relocated the activists to another venue nearby. The group later dispersed. “Extinction Rebellion” were protesting against Adidas’s sponsorship of the Qatar World Cup, one day before the start of the competition. Source: Tagesspiegel

Insufficient protection against harmful dust in Tesla factory

The Brandenburg Ministry of Health has reported problems with occupational safety at Tesla in Grünheide. During inspections of occupational safety at the factory, the authorities found deficiencies. This is revealed in a 2021 report by the Ministry of Health. According to the report, employees of the State Office for Occupational Safety, Consumer Protection and Health (LAVG) repeatedly found during inspections indoors work at the factory was being conducted without appropriate dust protection measures. In September, it came to light that the Tesla factory had been operating without a functioning fire alarm system. Tesla says it is working to remedy this issue. Source: rbb24


Deutsche Bahn must cancel train journeys

Deutsche Bahn is experiencing an extreme increase in train cancellations due to staff shortages. This mainly affects the state-owned company’s regional lines. From July to September alone, 18,676 journeys could not take place because of a lack of staff—in the same period last year, the number was 6,935. This is according to an answer from the Federal Ministry of Transport to a written question from the Left parliamentary group in the Bundestag. For Bernd Riexinger (Die Linke), the high number of train cancellations is evidence of a structural problem: the railway’s plans to increase staffing levels are not enough. He demands better working conditions. Source: Spiegel

Bars all over Germany boycott 2022 World Cup in Qatar

For 27 years, Cologne’s cult pub “Lotta” has stood for electrifying football moments. When the home team 1.FC Köln scores the decisive goal in injury time, the whole bar explodes. So quite a lot must have happened for co-owner Peter Zimmermann, a passionate football fan, to come to a decision that many pub owners in Germany are making: the TV will stay off in protest during the entire football World Cup in Qatar. “We want to send a signal against this thoroughly corrupt FIFA system, where it’s really all about money, and human rights and football culture don’t matter at all,” Zimmermann says. Source: dw

Gas price brake from January

The federal government has drafted a law for subsidizing gas for private households and businesses starting from January, not from March as previously planned. The payment is to be made retroactively based on the relief amount determined for the month of March. This approach is also planned for the electricity price brake. With these measures, the federal government wants to react to the sharply increased energy prices, which have been exacerbated by the Ukraine war, among other things. Billions of euros are to be invested to cushion the burden on private households and businesses. Source: taz

Ralf Wohlleben must return to prison

Ralf Wohlleben was the man who supported the National Socialist Underground (NSU). He provided the right-wing radical gang with the weapons for nine murders of migrants. He was sentenced to ten years in prison in 2018—for aiding and abetting murder. But shortly after the verdict, he was released: he had already served almost two thirds of his ten years in prison. He was able to enjoy his freedom for five years. Now, however, he must go to prison again because the Federal Supreme Court has determined that Wohlleben continues to pose a risk to the security of the Federal Republic of Germany. Source: sz