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CRIME

Erfurt squatters kidnap talking TV bread loaf

Leftist squatters have kidnapped Bernd das Brot – a talking loaf of bread from a children’s TV show – to protest their eviction from an occupied building in the eastern German city of Erfurt.

Erfurt squatters kidnap talking TV bread loaf
Photo: DPA

A two-metre-tall likeness of the surly orange-brown tin loaf went missing from its post in front of the city hall building weeks ago and a letter from group of squatters claiming responsibility for the abduction soon surfaced. Then the leftists followed up with a video of their doughy “hostage” complete with commentary sympathetic to the squatter’s plight in Bernd’s own deep voice.

“The squat must absolutely stay! I’m prepared to show myself in public again, but I can’t at the expense of my conscience,” says Bernd in the video while being shown the premises – raising the possibility that the loaf of bread has developed Stockholm syndrome during his captivity.

On Friday, public broadcaster MDR – which owns the rights to Bernd das Brot – forced Youtube to remove the video from the internet. Steffen Kottkamp, head of Erfurt-based children TV channel Kinderkanal (Ki.Ka) also failed to see any humour in Bernd’s abduction.

“You just don’t do that!” Kottkamp told newspaper Die Welt. “We would have to ask Bernd, but he himself certainly wouldn’t have agreed to this.”

Using one of Bernd’s favourite expressions, Kottkamp said the grumpy TV character considers abductions – especially his own – Mist, which is the German word for “crap.”

However, the award-winning loaf of bread is also known for being irredeemably fatalistic as he endures countless hardships in life, so if any Ki.Ka star was going to be abducted it he’d probably think it would have to be him.

Negotiations between city authorities and squatters known as Team 129 A broke down weeks ago after the building occupants rejected an offer for alternative housing. Their eviction was postponed on Friday until February 15, according to the group’s website. Their squat is to be converted into apartments and office space.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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