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Berlin, Friedrichshain, North Quarter: A neighborhood under siege – [Rigaer 94]

Berlin. Since February 11, 2021, the day on which two non-transparent, non-public courts reached the decision to grant a company, which had been trying in vain for years, the right to call Rigaer94 its property, the Nordkiez (North Quarter) has once again been in a state of emergency. What we were allowed to experience here for the first time in 2015 is repeating itself at the moment. Again it is the beginning of an election year, as a power bloc of the police state has regrouped to occupy Rigaer Street permanently.

Originally published by Kontrapolis. Translated by Riot Turtle.

A few months earlier, there was talk that the Red-Red-Green Senate was running out of time to stage easy propaganda actions for the right-wing clientele here. In early 2020, the deployment of the “BPE” unit (a police squad), especially created for the danger zones, was supposed to mean that targeted terror against the cores of the rebellious zones would drive the target group, thus pushed into a corner, into a feud. This has not been accomplished, and so now the Senator of the Interior, Geisel, in particular, finds himself in need of convincing the wafting masses between CDU and SPD in his favor. Does he have the guts like Henkel to plunge head over heels into a conflict with an uncertain outcome?

He has long since been doing that. Things looked bad at first on February 11, when it seemed as if a power bloc had actually formed. Florian Schmidt, the self-proclaimed Fidel Castro of Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg, had given the judicially delegitimized Torsten Luschnat the order to take care of fire protection in Rigaer94. The latter had accepted the ball and passed it over the judicial line to the Senator of the Interior, who dribbled joyfully into scoring position after the verdict. Rigaer94 referred to similar situations in the past, in which the enemies of autonomous and self-governing places rejoiced too soon and speculated that time would show “how shaky the construction created by the Interior Senate, the courts, and last but not least in years of work by the state protection departments” was.

For the people around Dorfplatz, Geisel’s final attempt is a familiar story. Cops are standing at the usual places, shuttling every minute between Bersarinplatz and the already completed building of the CG and harassing, controlling, lighting. Yesterday, Sunday, however, they had a lot more to do besides their inhumane work. As demanded by Hengameh Yaghoobifarah in daily newspaper taz some time ago, the Rigaer had provided them with a job among their peers: “Not as garbage people with keys to houses, but on the dump, where they are really only surrounded by garbage. Among their equals, they surely feel most comfortable themselves.” Unfortunately, that was not evident to them as they loaded several piles of bulky waste and garbage into their own vans. Their superiors, who have been noticeably busy in the neighborhood in recent days, had no sympathy, because they didn’t want to see the furniture as burning barricades for the upcoming operation.

At times, the media reports on the new developments at hourly intervals and also likes to quote from appeals, declarations of solidarity and actions, which are appearing in ever greater numbers on independent media pages. One can say that the tension is rising noticeably. At the same time, the police-state power bloc is already crumbling significantly on the first few meters. Florian Schmidt as one of the main responsible ones rows back and the face of his companion Geisels probably already turned red in the past days. With this internal conflict the fire protection argument, which was mentioned, is revealed as a feint. This clearly serves to gain access to the house in the name of Luschnat’s property management company and to turn everything upside down there. The left-wing media collective Leftvision has leaked an internal letter as evidence, in which Andreas Geisel writes: “The residents don’t want their defense measures in the apartments and their weapons storage in the attic to become known.” This makes clear that the fire safety inspection is actually a house search. Again, we must recall Henkel, who searched Rigaer94 in January 2016, also on flimsy grounds. At that time, according to official language, it was an “inspection according to ASOG”. Henkel’s action in January resulted in a demonstration with several thousand people and the first smaller skirmishes, which formed the basis for a huge resistance against the no less illegal eviction attempt in the summer in the same year.

It is exactly this kind of illegal eviction attempt that is rolling towards all those involved. The good thing is: as announced by Rigaer94, the basis created by their enemies is very shaky again.

Now it’s a matter of not losing one’s nerves in the face of the announced Red Zone, the assembly ban and approaching special police squads with construction workers and securities on their tail, but not losing sight of the goals that have always been upheld. One is to keep Rigaer94, the other is to turn an actual eviction into a disaster for all those responsible.

2 thoughts on “Berlin, Friedrichshain, North Quarter: A neighborhood under siege – [Rigaer 94]

  1. […] Berlin, Friedrichshain, North Quarter: A neighborhood under siege – [Rigaer 94] […]

  2. […] Berlin, Friedrichshain, North Quarter: A neighborhood under siege – [Rigaer 94] […]

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