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CRIME

Violence still simmers months after Berlin squat eviction

Police say they are still dealing with violent reprisals even months after they forced the eviction of residents from a controversial leftist squat house in Berlin.

Violence still simmers months after Berlin squat eviction
Photo: DPA

Nine people were arrested during the eviction of the squat in the Friedrichshain district of the capital in February, sparking a spree of violence and vandalism by up to 1,500 protesters, which left 61 police officers injured.

Since then at least 40 criminal acts have been reported in the vicinity of the building, most of which are thought to be the work of people still angry at the eviction and the gentrification of the area.

Those include attempted arson, attempted assault and trespassing, Berlin police spokesman Volker-Alexander Tönnies told Friday’s Berliner Morgenpost newspaper.

So far, no-one has been injured and none of the culprits have been caught, but police have opened multiple investigations, the newspaper reported.

The tabloid Bild has also reported the existence of an anonymous letter threatening more violence, which police said they were aware of.

The building at Liebigstraße 14 has long been a flashpoint for the debate over gentrification in the Friedrichshain area. Before the eviction it had been occupied continuously by squatters since the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990.

The building was bought from the city, which had been tolerating the squatters, by private investors investors in 2007. They issued eviction orders two years later.

The Local/mdm

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CRIME

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

A driver in Passau has been hit with a €5,000 fine because he was caught by traffic police giving the middle finger.

Driver in Bavaria gets €5,000 fine for giving the finger to speed camera

The district court of Passau sentenced the 53-year-old motorist to the fine after he was caught making the rude gesture in the direction of the speedometer last August on the A3 near the Donautal Ost service area, reported German media. 

The man was not caught speeding, however. According to traffic police who were in the speed camera vehicle at the time, another driver who had overtaken the 53-year-old was over the speed limit. 

When analysing the photo, the officers discovered the slower driver’s middle finger gesture and filed a criminal complaint.

The driver initially filed an objection against a penalty order, and the case dragged on for several months. However, he then accepted the complaint. He was sentenced to 50 ‘unit fines’ of €100 on two counts of insulting behaviour, amounting to €5,000.

READ ALSO: The German rules of the road that are hard to get your head around

In a letter to police, the man said he regretted the incident and apologised. 

Police said it was “not a petty offence”, and that the sentence could have been “even more drastic”.

People who give insults while driving can face a prison sentences of up to a year.

“Depending on the nature and manner of the incident or in the case of persons with a previous conviction, even a custodial sentence without parole may be considered for an insult,” police in Passau said. 

What does the law say?

Showing the middle finger to another road user in road traffic is an offence in Germany under Section 185 of the Criminal Code (StGB). It’s punishable by a prison sentence of up to one year or a fine.

People can file a complaint if someone shows them the middle finger in road traffic, but it usually only has a chance of success if witnesses can prove that it happened.

As well as the middle finger, it can also be an offence to verbally insult someone. 

READ ALSO: The German road signs that confuse foreigners

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