News from Berlin and Germany, Thursday 2nd February 2023

Weekly news round-up from Berlin and Germany



French citizens insulted and beaten in Gesundbrunnen

Several French citizens were attacked and beaten outside a bar in Berlin-Gesundbrunnen on Saturday night. The police reported that the eight French citizens living in Berlin were attacked because they were talking in their mother tongue. According to the statement, they were approached and insulted by a group of 10 to 15 people. During the ensuing scuffle, one of the perpetrators hit a 22-year-old man in the face. A man of the same age and a 35-year-old woman were also beaten. The attackers escaped unrecognised. Source: faz

Getting distant from the Greens and the Left

Berlin’s governing mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) is distancing herself from her left-wing and green coalition partners two weeks before Berlin’s repeat election. “There are very different views in this coalition at key points about what is the best way forward for this city,” she said in an interview with the Tagesspiegel. She claimed that the statement is completely non-judgemental. According to Giffey, the fundamental differences of opinion in the coalition are also the reason for the dissatisfaction of many Berliners with Red-Green-Red in the capital. According to polls, only 24 percent are satisfied with their work. Source: tagesspiegel

Election with reservations

The repeat elections for Berlin’s House of Representatives and district parliaments on 12 February can go ahead as planned. In its decision announced on Tuesday, the Federal Constitutional Court (BVerfG) refused to issue an interim injunction against holding the elections. It will consider the constitutional challenge against the rerun at a later date. The repetition of the election had been decided among others due to the complaint of the satirical party Die PARTEI. “After the unambiguous ruling won by Die PARTEI before the state constitutional court, the BVerfG can hardly rule otherwise,” mentioned its MEP and direct candidate for the Berlin House of Representatives, Martin Sonneborn. Source: jW

Vonovia stops the building of 1,500 apartments in Berlin

The Vonovia housing group, the largest landlord in Europe, has announced it will not start any new construction projects this year. Plans in Berlin and Dresden are particularly affected. In the capital alone, this affects around 1,500 planned apartments. The reason for this is the increasingly difficult conditions, said the group’s press spokesman, Matthias Wulff. Among those conditions are inflation, interest rates, and construction costs. This applies to apartments planned for the Vonovia core brand and for the real estate companies Deutsche Wohnen and Buwog – in which Vonovia is the majority owner. Source: rbb24


First nationwide reporting centre on antifeminism

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation has set up a nationwide reporting centre on anti-feminism. This will be the first time a civil society organisation will collect and document incidents of sexist hostility and physical attacks, according to the Berlin-based Amadeu Antonio Foundation. Experiences with anti-feminist attacks and incidents can be reported immediately on the website These include sexist hostilities, physical attacks, and organised campaigns against equality and gender self-determination. The results of the documentation and evaluation will be anonymised and published in the future in the form of an annual report. Source: dw

Hans-Georg Maaßen: right-wing radical in the highest positions

Hans-Georg Maaßen is the former president of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and a former CDU politician. However, members of the association “Werteunion” – which is not part of the CDU, but simply an association – elected Maaßen as chairman. So, in a way, a right-wing radical flip towards the CDU. From 2012 to 2018, when he was President of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maaßen passed on confidential information to the US National Security Agency (NSA), sued journalists, and met with AfD representatives, among other things. Source: nd

Refugees and Upahl

A small community in northern Germany, Upahl, is to get a container village for refugees. Opponents of the project say it is too much of a burden. They oppose a planned shelter for 400 refugees that is to be built in the community of 1,600 inhabitants. Some days ago, when the refugee area was discussed, about 700 people demonstrated in front of the town’s assembly hall. Among them, was a group with known right-wing extremists. In the end, 120 officers cordoned off the building. Nevertheless, it looks like Upahl will get the container village – despite all the protests. Source: dw

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