• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Refugees can stay in occupied school

The Local · 3 Jul 2014, 10:30

Published: 03 Jul 2014 09:22 GMT+02:00
Updated: 03 Jul 2014 10:30 GMT+02:00

Hundreds of police officers put up a cordon last Tuesday around Ohlauer Straße while clearing around 200 refugees from the Gerhart-Hauptmann-Schule in Kreuzberg.

But around 40 people refused to leave the former school and the police barriers became a magnet for protesters.

PHOTO GALLERY: Police close off area around former school 

Kreuzberg’s ruling Green Party, which gave the initial order to clear the school and then dithered for days about their next move, also came under fire from both police and protesters.
 
District mayor Monika Hermann, who has supported granting the refugees residence rights for humanitarian reasons, pleaded for patience on Wednesday afternoon.
 
"It's the aim of all concerned parties to solve the situation in a peaceful way," she wrote in a press statement. 
 
Finally, at 9.30pm on Wednesday the refugees still in the school signed an agreement with local authorities confirming they could stay in the building.

Under the agreement, brokered with the help of left-leaning veteran Green politician Hans-Christian Ströbele, 75, the former school will be renovated.

The 40 remaining refugees will be given special passes to allow them to leave and re-enter the school at will. Their passes will be checked at the entrance by security staff to avoid an influx of new people.

While they stay in the school, authorities have pledged not to start any legal proceedings of any kind against the refugees. 

The renovation work, which according to the signed document will begin on Thursday morning, will start with the clearing out and securing the bottom floors of the school.

During the work the ground floor windows will be boarded up. 

Story continues below…

Police spokesman Stefan Redlich said he was relieved that the police had not had to use force to clear the school and that nobody had been hurt.

The nine day police operation, involving up to 1,700 police officers from Berlin, Lower Saxony and North Rhine-Westphalia cost over €5 million, Bild newspaper said on Thursday, citing police sources. 

SEE ALSO: Berlin's refugee protest: 'This is a police siege'

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Lion shot dead at Leipzig Zoo after breaking out of cage
Motshegetsi (l) und Majo. Photo: DPA

A young male lion was shot dead at Leipzig Zoo on Thursday afternoon after he broke out of his enclosure.

EU takes Germany to court for 'discriminatory' foreigner toll
A sign that reads "toll" along the Autobahn by Rostock. Photo: DPA.

The European Commission on Thursday said it is taking Germany to the EU Court of Justice because of the country's plan to impose a road toll that would mainly charge foreign drivers.

After 3-year trial, suspected neo-Nazi terrorist speaks out
Beate Zschäpe. Photo: DPA

Beate Zschäpe, the only living member of an underground neo-Nazi cell accused of murdering ten people, has spoken to the court in Munich after three years of silence.

Green party wants only e-cars on Autobahn by 2030
Photo: DPA.

The environmentalist Green party has an ambitious plan for German cars to be petrol- and diesel-free within the next 15 years.

Commerzbank to make one in five staff redundant by 2020
Photo: DPA

Germany's second largest lender Commerzbank said on Thursday it plans to cut 9,600 jobs by 2020 and withhold dividends to pay for a €1.1 billion restructuring.

Germany's favourite smoker wins battle against eviction
Photo: DPA

How a pensioner with a serious smoking habit won a years-long fight for his right to keep his home - and his favourite pastime.

Thousands evacuated after WWII bomb found in Cologne
File photo of a Second World War bomb: DPA

Several thousands people were being evacuated from a district of Cologne just north of the old town on Thursday morning, after a Second World War bomb was found in a parking lot.

Kidnapped German journalist and her baby freed in Syria
File photo of a Syrian soldier: SANA/DPA.

A German woman who was kidnapped in Syria last year while she was pregnant has been freed along with her baby, the German Foreign Office said on Wednesday.

Air Berlin to cut 1,200 jobs and halve airline fleet
Photo: DPA.

Struggling Air Berlin, Germany's second-largest airline, announced on Wednesday a major restructuring plan that shrinks its fleet and cuts 1,200 jobs.

Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Photo: Thomas Wolf/Wikimedia Commons.

From stunning chalk-white cliffs to fairy tale castles, Germany has some breathtaking sights to see, perfect for social media.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Lifestyle
10 German films you have to watch before you die
Lifestyle
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Lifestyle
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
National
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
National
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
National
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
6,582
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd