News from Berlin and Germany, 3rd April 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



Celebration of cannabis legalisation in Berlin

Numerous people celebrated the legalisation of cannabis in front of the Brandenburg Gate on the night of Easter Monday. The police estimated, that 1,500 people had gathered in front of the landmark. Several joints were lit at midnight. Shortly afterwards, a strong smell of cannabis wafted across the square. A metre-high cannabis leaf could be seen and some people danced to reggae music. According to the police, the event ended at around 0:40 am. There were also celebrations on the Warschauer Brücke. At midnight, activists from the Hanf Museum and the umbrella organisation of German Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCD) lit up a joint. Source: rbb

Video surveillance system for Leopoldplatz

Last week, the Greens and the CDU announced their plans to re-install a video surveillance system at Leopoldplatz, as reported by Berliner Zeitung. It will begin with a 6 month trial phase, after which an evalutaion will take place. The Left’s Jacky Sanehy, Spokesperson for Health, has criticised the decision. She argues that bringing video surveillance back to Leopoldplatz would lead to the displacement of homeless and drug-addicted individuals, simply moving the problem elsewhere and rather than solving it. Instead of surveillance, the Left is calling for increased social welfare systems, including a space for drug consumption and more social work facilities on and around Leopoldplatz. Source: the berliner



Teachers against the right – a challenging assignment

Maike Finnern’s appeal sounds obvious. The GEW (the German Education Union) chairwoman has appealed to teachers to take a critical look at the AfD in the classroom because the party harbours anti-constitutional tendencies. But as simple as it first sounds, it seems somewhat challenging to actually implement. Teachers take an oath to uphold the constitution, and it would be desirable for them not to ignore the sensitive topic of the far-right in the classroom. This may be due to the fact that as recently reported, many schools were found to have a “right-wing atmosphere” contributed to by the teachers themselves. Source: nd-aktuell

Germans consume more petrol

Petrol consumption increased in Germany for the third year in a row, according to mineral oil data from the Federal Office of Economics and Export Control (Bafa). The Federal Environment Agency attributes the rise in petrol consumption primarily to an increase in mileage last year. Moreover, the Munich-based Ifo Institute sees not only an increase in traffic volume, but also a switch from diesel to petrol as a result of driving bans and the reduced financial advantage of diesel vehicles. According to the economic researchers, there are now also more heavier cars with petrol engines. Source: taz

Fans banned from buying number 44 kits over Nazi symbolism

The trade “Adidas” has prohibited football fans from ordering German football kits customised with the number 44, after media brought attention to their resemblance to the symbol used by World War Two-era Nazi SS units. “We will block personalisation of those jerseys,” an Adidas spokesman said. The symbolism issue was first raised by historian Michael König, who mentioned the kits´ design was “very questionable”. Adidas spokesman Oliver Brüggen denied that the kit’s resemblance to the Nazi symbols was intentional. “We as a company are committed to opposing xenophobia, anti-Semitism, violence and hatred in every form,” he said. Source: bbc

Dual citizenship law to become effective likely in June

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier signed off on the country’s dual citizenship law, on March 22, 2024. Once a law is signed by the German President it automatically comes into effect 14 days later. However, since the new citizenship law will require administrative bodies to adjust, the implementation will take longer. No concrete date has been set, but authorities have been given a three-month preparation period, meaning that it should come into effect around June 22, 2024. The new law will allow, among other things, non-EU citizens with a German residence to become Germans after few years in the country, without having to surrender their original citizenship. Source: iamexpat

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