News from Berlin and Germany, 5th June 2024

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



‘But it’s nice here’

Over 6,000 people demonstrated against displacement and the often-unaffordable rents in Berlin on Saturday. In the Wannsee district, which has not been known for tenant struggles in the past, Vonovia tenants also resist the five-fold increase in their service charges. ‘It’s not just millionaires who live in Wannsee,’ a resident mentioned. A plaque on the ‘Gemeinsam gegen Obdachlosigkeit und Zwangsräumung’ (Together against homelessness and eviction) demo van remembered some of those who suffered because of displacement. Numerous names of people who had to live and die on the streets were written by hand. Source: jW

Queer community in Berlin threatens to disinvite mayor from CSD

The Berlin Christopher Street Day (CSD) have issued Kai Wegner (CDU) with an ultimatum: either meet some of the longstanding demands from the queer community, or have the invitation withdrawn. A statement issued by the organisation begins: “In 2024, the queer Berlin community will not be fobbed off with warm words from politicians, but will demand the implementation of its demands with vigor.” Among those demands are the inclusion of queer people in the protections enshrined in the Federal Grundgesetz, Germany’s constitution (currently being blocked by the CDU at a federal level), and an introduction of measures against hate crime, with adequate funding of their implementation. Source: the berliner

HU President receives backing

Following the occupation at Humboldt University (HU), President Julia von Blumenthal has received backing from the deans of eight faculties. They published a statement in which they described von Blumenthal’s actions as ‘level-headed and de-escalating.’ The statement was signed by around 500 other HU employees. According to the deans’ letter, part of the challenge was that the group of occupiers was heterogeneous. There was a core of activists who were not interested in dialogue, but in escalation. However, there were also students who were ‘willing to talk.’ In the statements, the deans also write that they oppose all attempts to incite Jewish and Palestinian students against each other. Source: morgenpost


Germany sees its highest number of naturalisations in 23 years

The year 2023 saw quite an uptick in the number of residents being granted German citizenship (200,100). Among them, Syrian nationals represented the largest group to naturalise (75,485), compared to Turkish nationals (10,735). The large discrepancy can be explained by the fact that many of the Syrian nationals who came to Germany as refugees between 2014 and 2016 were newly eligible for citizenship in 2023. In Germany, people with refugee status are not required to renounce their original citizenship to get a German passport. Of the 16 federal states, Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, naturalised the largest number of people in 2023 (51,185). Source: iamexpat

Survey on racism in the national team causes outrage

The European Men’s Football Championship kicks off on 14 June. Taking advantage of the focus that is currently on this sport, Philipp Awounou will release Unity and Justice and Diversity, a documentary where he explores the question of how the proportion of migrants in the German national team has developed over the past decades and which will be broadcast on 5 June. The electronic magazine Sport Inside commissioned a survey for the film, according to which one in five Germans would prefer to see more white players in the DFB team. The survey triggered a wave of outrage on social media. Source: islamiq

In Remembrance of Walter Lübcke: 500 balloons for democracy

A tribute for Walter Lübcke (CDU) took place in Kassel, on the occasion of the 5th anniversary of his murder. Lübcke, who was shot dead on his terrace by right-wing extremist Stephan Ernst, became known in 2015 above all for his commitment to refugees. He was a ‘hero of action,’ President Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD) recalls, an ‘upright democrat who was committed to the community.’ However, Steinmeier himself admits that ‘in the end, we didn’t do enough to avert the crime. For far too long, we held on to the judgement that we were dealing with lone perpetrators or perhaps a small gang.’ Source: nd

A new Oury Jalloh case?

Hans-Jürgen Rose died 26 years ago. Now it has emerged that his death could be linked to the police station that became famous years later for the death of Oury Jalloh. His widow Iris Rose has charged four of the police officers who were on duty at the time with murder. She is supported by the donor-funded initiative ‘Recherche-Zentrum.’ In an interview with the ARD political programme Kontraste, she declared: ‘We hope that it will be cleared up. Especially for Jürgen’s mum.’ The complaint is based on new findings: apparently, documents from that night in 1997 have been tampered with. Source: tagesschau

The attack in Mannheim will have consequences

The footage of a perpetrator stabbing several people in blind rage last Friday in Mannheim is disturbing. A 29-year-old police officer died on Sunday as a result of the injuries suffered. If he and his colleagues had not reacted with such presence of mind, there would have been even more victims. The attack in Mannheim is evidence of problematic radicalisation. Meanwhile, the city’s residents are showing how to react in a level-headed manner, opposing initiatives such as the Young Alternative, which organised a rally to promote their idea of ‘remigration.’ However, such attacks might have consequences not yet foreseeable. Source: taz

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