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Former squat eviction sparks violent protest

The Local · 2 Feb 2011, 15:11

Published: 02 Feb 2011 10:42 GMT+01:00
Updated: 02 Feb 2011 15:11 GMT+01:00

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Police cordoned off a large area of several blocks around the occupied building at Liebigstraße 14 in the Friedrichshain district, which has become a lightning rod for the capital’s gentrification battle.

One of the injured police officers needed to be hospitalised. Authorities arrested some 23 activists protesting on the streets against the eviction on public disorder charges.

Suspected left-wing radicals hurled bottles and other missiles at police.

Police said that about 300 protesters gathered near the building, which has been a squat, and later a housing project, since 1990, shortly after the Berlin Wall fell. Some 2,500 police were deployed for the operation.

Long lines of police vans were parked in surrounding streets and dozens of officers formed barriers to seal off the residential blocks on every side of the house.

Police forced their way into the building in the morning. The residents had previously vowed they would refuse to leave the building voluntarily.

Click here for photos of the police operation.

A police spokesman said the officers had faced massive barricades at the entrances to the building. Several hundred police were involved in actually carrying out the eviction.

The residents failed on Tuesday in a last-minute effort to have the eviction declared illegal by a Berlin court. The capital’s Interior Minister Ehrhart Körting had called on the residents to leave the building peacefully.

Friedrichshain is one of the key flashpoints in the battle over the gentrification of Berlin, which pits property developers and investors against mostly left-wing residents. Although Liebigstraße 14 had been occupied as a housing project with a legal rental contract, it was bought from the city by private owners in 1999, who cancelled the lease in 2007.

Story continues below…

After two years of legal wrangling, the residents were given an eviction order in November 2009.

The 25 current residents are a mix of Germans and foreigners, and of workers, students and artists. They argued the eviction was illegal because the notices served were out of date and applied to previous residents of the house.

DPA/The Local/djw

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Your comments about this article

10:54 February 2, 2011 by catjones
Eight cops for every protester? This story is pure fiction. There aren't enough donut shops with a square kilometer to support this kind of police action.
13:14 February 2, 2011 by majura
Catjones: You've obviously never been around a protest in Berlin before. Your comment is pure fiction.
14:50 February 2, 2011 by marimay
They make terrible donuts here anyway.
15:26 February 2, 2011 by finanzdoktor
The real story here is the lawlessness of those who were protesting. When the law wasn't on their side, and they decided to refuse the findings of the law, they took it into their own hands and hurt those dedicated to protect and serve (even, the protection and service to those hurling the bottles at them).
16:59 February 2, 2011 by derExDeutsche
You were expecting a fair fight?

I expect every Doughnut Patrol from Hannover to Leipzig was there. I mean, it was announced in advance...
10:32 February 3, 2011 by catjones

Grow up. The story states: Some 2,500 police were deployed for the operation.

If each van carried 10 cops that would mean 250 vans were used in the attack. Pure fiction.
11:06 February 3, 2011 by dkt7
Good. Throw those worthless hippies out on their asses.
18:17 February 4, 2011 by derExDeutsche
Funny, how this picture was taken from inside the Squat, looking down at the Polizei trying to get in. Was theLocal Photog inside the Squat when the Polizei knocked the door down? I hope no theLocal-ers nor theLocal's Offices were displaced!
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