Germany: Large-scale police operation against refugees in Berlin

Since yesterday, August 25th, 2014, after reports in the mainstream media that the migration office rejected the applications for asylum of 108 refugees, there have been preparations for the eviction of these refugees, who occupied the Oranienplatz in Kreuzberg in the past (and were evicted in early April 2014) but later signed contracts with the Senate of Berlin, which promised them among others places to stay for at least six months and a single case examination of each of their asylum applications. It is known that parts of the agreements mentioned in the contract have been broken already in the beginning, e.g. that some refugees got their applications rejected without the promised single case examination and have been threatened with deportation already before the six months’ period was over. So yesterday the Senate sent officials to the respective refugees to inform them about the rejection of their applications and to order them to immediately leave their homes.

Yesterday, around hundred policemen and the Press appeared close to and in front of the refugee house in Gürtelstraße, a former hostel in the district of Friedrichshain. Also, on Gürtelstraße, they stored street barriers already two or three days ago. All of this indicated that soon there would be police operations.

Police also appeared at Oranienplatz yesterday, where one of their patrol cars got attacked with stones by angry people. According to reports, one of the rejected refugees covered himself in gasoline and threatened to torch himself.

A part of the refugees from the Oranienplatz have been in Marienfelde, a district in the outskirts of Berlin. There are no independent reports yet about what has happened to them (only mainstream media reports, stating they left without visible protests).

The situation right now (after 16:00 local time) in Gürtelstraße, Friedrichshain is that at least 2 refugees are on the roof of the house. According to street reports, several refugees have already left the former hostel where they were living. There are several hundreds of cops besieging the area. Also the Press is there in huge numbers. What is missing are people in solidarity with the refugees. There are only a couple of people, who are quite passive. No banners, no slogans yet, just a few slogans written with chalk on the sidewalk. The area is not closed; people in solidarity can reach the place from all directions. Anti-riot cops are located on Gürtelstraße, Dossestraße and Scharnweberstraße. There are also lots of undercover cops in the area. Right now police are waiting for orders of their bosses. Any kind of action in solidarity with the refugees, and in order to distract the cops from the area, is more than welcome!

Sources: and the street

the refugee house in Gürtelstraße
solidarity banner at a neighbouring house

Update (at about 17:30 local time):
There are currently three refugees on the rooftop of the hostel in Gürtelstraße, Friedrichshain (see map). Several cop barriers are located at the junction of dosse str. and oderstr., dosse str. and ede-und-unku-weg, gürtelstraße and oderstr., gürtelstr. and scharnweberstr. Entrance to the blocked area is only allowed for residents with identity card, or members of the Press. Shouted slogans in support of the refugees, as well as cop sirens, could be heard from farther away.

Update (circa 19:00 local time):
There is a small gathering with sit-in at the barrier at the junction of guertelstr. and scharnweberstr. There are no people behind the other cop barriers. The fire brigade is inside dossestr. with two inflatable mattresses (they use these things when people jump for some reason from the window, etc.).

∙ Related article: Street blockade in solidarity with the dead and the alive and fighting

∙ Call for a demo at Frankfurter Tor (Friedrichshain) today, August 26th, at 8pm – Kommt alle!

Update (circa 20:00 local time):
Τhere are still at least three refugees on the rooftop of the hostel in Gürtelstraße. Supporters are still somewhat passive and waiting. Anti-riot cops are stationed on the roof of hotel Georgenhof, which is the building next to the former hostel (the two roofs are not connected). At the junction of guertelstr. and scharnweberstr., there are around 50 people (curious bystanders included).

∙ Words from Badra Ali Diarra, who signed an agreement with the Berlin Senate and now is imprisoned: Some statements from our friend in deportation prison

Update (after 22:00 local time):
The demo from Frankfurter Tor arrived close to the refugee home on Gürtelstraße. There were 150 to 200 protesters at the police barrier at the junction of Gürtelstraße and Scharnweberstraße. Gradually people got less and lesser there. Slogans were shouted, e.g. “We are here, we will fight, freedom of movement is everybody’s right.” There were also a few solidarity banners. Demonstrators set up a PA opposite the barrier, where speeches were held by people in solidarity and refugees who informed about their situation. In one of these speeches, it was stated that there are more than 60 people from the former hostel in Gürtelstraße among those who had their applications rejected; most of them have left. Sleeping places are needed for evicted refugees. It is estimated that 10 people remain inside the hostel or on the rooftop. Further affected refugees are from a second accommodation in Marienfelde and a third one in Hardenbergstraße (Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf?). It was pointed out that this is just the beginning: everyone from the refugees who have signed the agreement and have not appeared in an appointment with the authorities, or have had their application rejected, are in serious danger of losing their accommodation plus the financial assistance. There is also a huge threat of deportation, since the migration office has ruled that for all those concerned (at least 108 cases) there is no right of residence in Berlin.

Update – August 27th (at about 08:30 local time):
There are still refugees on the rooftop of the hostel in Gürtelstraße. Few supporters spent the night behind the barrier at the junction of Scharnweberstraße and Gürtelstraße. The aforementioned locations are still blocked off by the cops. During the night, police started to impose a ‘special service’ on residents who live inside the besieged and blocked area; every single resident was escorted by one robocop ‘safely’ to the entrance door of their homes.

∙ Related posts in greek, portuguese, french . . .