Berlin: Gürtelstraße 39 solidarity group update

Translators’ note: Below is an update from August 27th, 2014 retrieved from We may not share all of the views expressed, but we feel it offers a good overview of the situation. The German original text is also spread in the streets.

Refugees are still protesting on the roof of the hostel on Gürtelstraße 39 in Friedrichshain, Berlin. They are protesting because the promises, which have been made to them at Oranienplatz in spring, have not been implemented. They are protesting because they demand the right to stay for everybody.

In April this year individual negotiations between a group of the refugees and the senator Delik Kolat took place at Oranienplatz. The agreement included that the group should remove the tents at Oranienplatz. In return they should get accommodations and their legal requests for the right of residence should be fully examined. Already at this time conflicts emerged between those who accepted the offer and those who considered the whole procedure as nothing else but empty words and wanted to stay at Oranienplatz to struggle for their demands for the right to stay, against accommodation in migration camps and mandatory residence.

In the beginning of this week the deadline for the accommodations, where the refugees who took part in the agreement have been living, ceased. The majority of them were informed verbally about it first on Monday, August 25th. From Tuesday, most of them have been thrown out on the streets without means. A couple of refugees got on the roof of their accommodation in Gürtelstraße 39 before they would be kicked out, and stayed there in order to protest. They demand to speak with the senator Kolat and a right to stay for all. They say they will not leave the roof so long as these demands are ignored; if the cops should break the protest by force they are prepared to jump.

Meanwhile the cops have blocked the surrounding streets of this accommodation. Since Tuesday morning not only the Gürtelstraße, but also the Dossestraße is occupied by repression forces. Residents are forced to show their IDs in order to reach their homes and are escorted there by cops. All this reminds of the blockades some weeks ago in Ohlauer Street (in Kreuzberg). It is unclear for how long the exclusion zones are scheduled. At this moment the cops have not begun to evict the roof in Gürtelstraße, but they remain inside the accommodation.

Throughout Tuesday, lawyers, doctors and supporters tried to get a permission to reach the people on the roof. But the director of the police operation did not give them permission. Thus, the refugees are deprived of their basic rights on legal aid, food and drinks. One person on the roof is in urgent need of vital medication. It is also not permitted to hand medication over to the refugees. Meanwhile electricity and water have been cut. The hostel operator issued a complaint for the breach of domestic peace against the refugees. Both the Senate and the cops are acting illicitly and misanthropically.

Since Tuesday, there is a permanent gathering at the junction of Scharnweberstraße and Gürtelstraße. From 9am to 10pm there is a sound system which is also used as ‘info-point’. Regular food and drinks are required for the gathering. Repeatedly people who got thrown out of their accommodations are coming to the ‘info-point’ in urgent need of sleeping places. We still need people who can overtake shifts or can simply stay there and support the protests vocally. If you like to help you can come to the ‘info-point’.

Since Tuesday, there have been frequent hostilities by racists against participants in the gathering and refugees. On Tuesday it went so far that a pub guest (visitor of the bar “Zum Igel”) in Scharnweberstraße cut the cables of the sound system. You should be careful when coming to the gathering.

Take care of each other! Be creative, plan some actions, and support the protests of the people on the roof! Any support is urgently needed, also in the nighttime!

Statement from August 27th of the refugees on the roof in Gürtelstraße 39:

“From our point of view, the requests have not been thoroughly examined.

We currently demand access to food and drinks, access to medication, electricity and water.

We call upon the representatives of the Social Administration, the Commissioners for Integration, the Migration Office, and the senator Kolat to initiate negotiations. For this, we need assured access to our lawyers.

In principle, we demand that the requests be reexamined. According to the agreement, we demand the transfer of all cases from other German Federal States to Berlin.

We demand basic assistance as provided by law, including accommodation and the ensuring of health care, which has been completely denied contrary to law.

We call all media to not look away but to report on the situation.

We are desperate and angry!!!”