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News from Germany and Berlin: 24 October, 2020


Among forest people

The Herrenwald forest has become the scene of a battle between nature conservationists and local and federal authorities. The dispute is about the Dannenröder Wald, the point of contention a highway. And there is a lot at stake, considering mobility, ecology, engagement, and governmental accountability. The activists are mostly teenagers and have been building tree houses for months, living there. On the other hand, many defend the highway, but there are also those supporting the activists. Amid it, the conservationists consider the alliance in Hessen between the Greens and CDU as a betrayal, which might be a problem for the Greens in the federal election campaign. Source: taz.

Full throttle from a standing start

On the fringes of an AfD event in Henstedt-Ulzburg, some people were hit by a pickup truck on last Saturday evening. The driver apparently steered the car onto the sidewalk and drove at full speed towards several people. Two men suffered minor injuries. A 21-year-old woman had to be treated in hospital. A press release issued by the Bad Segeberg police caused outrage. It stated: "Demonstrators from the right and left scene clashed outside the event area. One person from the left-wing scene was seriously injured in a traffic accident. Marianne Kolter (die Linke) spoke of "trivialization". Source: jW

Germany signs off on tougher child sex abuse rules

The German government approved a draft bill that imposes stricter jail terms for child abuse and the distribution of exploitative images of children. This new bill would upgrade child sexual abuse to a crime punishable with between one and 15 years in prison, and, for distributing exploitative images and videos of children, with between one and 10 years. The legislation also renames the crime, replacing the word “Kindesmissbrauch” (literally, "child misuse") with "sexual violence against children." According to German statistics, there were in 2019 25,000 cases of child abuse and over 12,000 investigated cases of crimes related to exploitative images of children – a rise of 65% from 2018. Source: dw.


Die Linke wants part of the ICC for art and culture

Considering the lack of space for artists in Berlin, a partial opening of the ICC congress center would mean a way of minimizing this during the pandemic. Katalin Gennburg (die Linke) has the idea of using not only its wide corridors and halls, but also the large stage in Hall 1. Emanuel Höger, spokesman for Messe Berlin, reminds the building cannot be used presently due to fire safety regulations. And for many devices there are no spare parts available, which prevents them from being operated. It is expected the ICC will be sold only after the 2021 elections. Source: rbb.

Preemption not at any price

A hurdle for the further expansion of the housing company Heimstaden in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg: the “Vorkaufsrecht” could be exercised on last Tuesday, for up to twelve buildings. They are part of a portfolio comprising 16 properties. Nevertheless, Heimstaden can still acquire those constructions if it agrees on signing the so-called "averting agreements." This can significantly reduce the value of the property. Jagna Anderson (Initiative Fünf Häuser) considers such agreement not enough, from the perspective of tenants. There must be a comprehensive solution against displacement. Source: nd

Attack on Berlin's Museum Island: over 70 works of art damaged

On the Museum Island, many exhibits were defaced on October 3. Whether it was a targeted attack (perhaps considering the Day of German Unity) or senseless vandalism is still being determined. Suspicions circulate, considering supporters of the conspiracy ideologist and right-wing extremist Attila Hildmann. The reason for this: in August and September Hildmann wrote on Telegram the Pergamon Museum was the center of "Corona criminals" and a "global Satanist scene." A police spokesman said that investigations are being conducted in all directions. Minister of State for Culture Monika Grütters called for better security precautions at the National Museums. Source: dw.

Fire at Liebigstraße 34

In front of the house Liebigstraße 34 a fire broke out on Wednesday evening. The police and the fire department drove with a large contingent into the area. The fire was mainly caused by bulky waste that workers have removed from the construction in the previous days. The flames spread to the first floor, and the police force presumes arson. In the past few days, there have already been repeated clashes in front of the building at Liebigstraße 34. Some days ago, the building, occupied for decades by a feminist queer project, was evacuated due to a court order. Source: mp.

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