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News from Germany and Berlin: 19 December, 2020

Compiled by Ana Ferreira


"Querdenker" leader contracts COVID

A "Querdenker" leader was intubated in Leipzig after contracting COVID. Meanwhile, protesters in Dresden may not be allowed to demonstrate against restrictions after the higher court stated that the basic right to life and physical integrity outweighs the right to freedom of assembly. Also, in Hesse, a higher administrative court rejected an appeal to overturn the ban of a planned mass demonstration in Frankfurt. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany continues to rise, and stricter measures such as closing schools and non essential businesses are expected to happen in Germany until January. Source: dw

Right wing “men’s rights” group gets grant from the Ministry for Family Affairs

A group of “men's rights” activists, "Forum Soziale Inklusion," was granted 400,000 euros from the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs. Expert Andreas Kemper dismisses their idea that men, rather than not women and LGBTI people suffer from structural racism. Looking at who earns more money, who has more board positions, who uses more violence the truth is opposite to the false ideas defended by the group, which has contact with, among others, the AfD. Kemper believes that the group name is used to gain space and recognition in politics. Source: taz

Germany's COVID hot spots and numbers

Germany's eastern state of Saxony has gone into early lockdown. There is speculation why the sparsely populated region with the Czech Republic has experienced such a spike. Experts have already offered some explanations. One that is there are a high number of people who refuse to wear masks – a stance which is shared by the AfD. Martin Dulig, the commissioner for eastern Germany for the Social Democrats, believes that the party is partly responsible for the latest pandemic developments. But others such as the Bautzen Mayor Alexander Ahrens says that the reason for the high infection rates is simply the proximity to the Czech Republic and Poland. Source: dw

Last Haribo factory in East Germany threatened with closure

On Haribo's 100th anniversary, workers protested on Sunday in the market square of Wilkau-Haßlau, Saxony. Their existence is at stake: the company headquarters in Rhineland-Palatinate wants to close down the plant on 31 December. This is the only Haribo location in East Germany. At the beginning of November, workers were informed by the management about the closure plan. However, according to the works council and the NGG union, the factory is profitable. The end of the factory is nevertheless far from certain for workers and trade unionists, and Haribo must intensify the search for a "serious interested party." Source: jW

Violent police attack demonstration

On Sunday evening, according to the police, about 300 demonstrators gathered for a registered rally in Leipzig-Connewitz under the motto "Expose right-wing actors in the police, secret services and judiciary". It was said that the date was set for 13 December because the numbers 1312 correspond to the letters ACAB, or All Cops Are Bastards. During the demonstration there were provocation and attacks. The Leipzig police department announced in a press release on Sunday that it would investigate the officers involved, suspected of having "used disproportionate physical force." Source: jW

SPD does not want armed drones after all

For many years, the governing SPD party has opposed the procurement of armed drones. In the summer of 2020, Gabriela Heinrich, deputy leader of the parliamentary group, announced that they were prepared to support drones under strict conditions. Last week, however, SPD leader Norbert Walter-Borjans declared that he found the debate on armed Bundeswehr drones "insufficient." Many politicians believe that armed drones should be acquired, but the SPD also promotes itself "as a peace party that first wants a discussion about the consequences of this new dimension of the use of armed drones as a weapon of attack." Source: tagesspiegel


Threatened deportation to Afghanistan criticized as Double Punishment

The Berlin Refugee Council and the Alliance Against Deportations to Afghanistan, as well as prominent members of the Berlin SPD, are protesting against a deportation that Interior Senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) has scheduled of a 21-year-old Afghan, currently serving youth detention after committing several offences. Deportation after serving a prison sentence is to be considered tantamount to double punishment, because Afghanistan is considered one of the most dangerous countries in the world and is also currently affected by the corona pandemic "to an extreme extent". The lawyer of the Afghan who is now threatened with deportation has filed an appeal. Source: taz

SPD councillor criticized for conflict of interest on housing

Volker Härtig, chairman of the Berlin SPD expert committee Social City as well as a councillor of the parliamentary group in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district assembly, is facing criticism on several fronts. First there was his position against the rent referendum. In 2018, he initiated a vote on whether the then urban development senator Katrin Lompscher (die Linke) should resign or be fired. Now he is about to take one of the two board positions of Wohnraumversorgung Berlin (WVB) from 1 January 2021. The Berlin Tenants' Association and politicians such as Gaby Gottwald (die Linke) do not see how the housing policy can benefit from Härtig. Source: nd

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