The leftists have been particularly aggressive in the city’s Neukölln district, home to many residents of Turkish and Arabic heritage, daily Der Tagesspiegel reported on Monday.
Here they have made a point of destroying and removing Germany flags hanging outside shops and vehicles because they believe the proud patriotism hearkens back to the ugly nationalism of the Third Reich, the paper said.
A group calling itself “Kommando Kevin-Prince Boateng” posted a notice on the website Indymedia calling on leftists to “capture” all Germany flags across the country. The name refers to the Berlin-born footballer, who is playing for Ghana at the world cup and knocked German team captain Michael Ballack out of the tournament with a brutal foul in the FA Cup final in May.
One Arab-German family has sparked their ire by hanging a giant Germany flag on their Sonnenallee building in support of the football team during the World Cup.
Ibrahim Bassal, who owns a mobile phone shop in the district, told daily Berliner Morgenpost on Saturday that since he and his cousin hoisted the flag they have had several uncomfortable encounters with the local leftists.
“During the day people from the left-wing scene come by and insult us,” Bassal said. “Am I not allowed to be proud of Germany?”
Bassal and his cousin Badr Mohammed, a well-known conservative Christian Democratic Berlin politician who lives in the same building, worked together to get the 20-metre-long flag, which cost them €500.
In recent days the situation has escalated, with the anarchists attempting to remove the flag four times and even setting it on fire, the paper reported. On one occasion a group managed to gain access to the roof of the building and cut the flag down.
Last Friday evening some 16 people dressed in typical black anarchist garb confronted Bassal in his shop, and the mood was tense, the paper said.
After Germany’s World Cup victory over Ghana last week Bassal reportedly stayed up to look after his shop until 4 am.
“They see us as immigrants,” he said. “They don’t understand that Germans who aren’t from Germany would defend Germany.”
Both Bassal and Mohammed told Berliner Morgenpost that they are incredulous they have to defend hanging a German flag to native Germans.
Though the store owner’s entire family have been citizens for many years, the leftists believe immigrants must remain foreigners, he added.
Meanwhile many of the residents of Arab or Turkish descent who live in the multicultural district are defending the huge flag and continuing to show their support, the paper reported.
The family has organised nighttime surveillance of the flag with neighbours to prevent further attacks, they said.
“We won’t let our pride be taken away,” Bassal and Mohammed said.
But according to Der Tagesspiegel, Bassal has decided to remove the flag and hoist it only on days when there is a Germany match. Meanwhile other residents told the paper they were taking special care not to leave their flags unattended.