Berlin. During the morning hours of June 16, Rigaer Street including Dorfplatz (village square) to Zellestreet was occupied by a large number of people. On each side, a major barricade made of tires, barbed wire, construction site material and garbage containers was erected shortly before 11 am. In addition, there was a burning tire in front of each.
As larger police forces approached around the area, the main barricades were also set on fire. Soon defensive action was taken with stones and fireworks against smaller advancing helmeted units on foot. The latter thus halted their advances again for the most of the time. For the next two to three hours, no viable attempt was made to take the barricades. Every step forward on their part was stopped by throwing at them. The time was used by an increasing number of people inside the area to reinforce them and provide additional material for defense. Outside the occupied zone, too, the number of people increased and slogans of solidarity were raised, batteries of fireworks were set off in adjacent streets, and barricades were erected on other streets as well. The scenery in the Nordkiez was characterized by clouds of black smoke and the sound of fireworks coming from Rigaer. The former Liebig34 was covered in black smoke and some of the new windows were broken spontaneously. A slowly growing police force gathered all around. After about two hours, the first out-of-town units, which had probably been ordered beforehand, arrived. Shortly thereafter, at about 12 o’clock, it became known that water cannons and armored clearing vehicles were on their way along Karl-Marx-Allee. The situation had become static, a rare, exciting situation in these times.
The whole thing could no longer be solved other than by using heavy equipment. That’ s what happened a little later. Water cannons approached the burning barricades from the east and west, extinguished the fires and cooled the melted asphalt. Then, with the tanks in the lead, they started to advance into the contested territory, where some surrounding balconies were still being pelted with water. A little later, the otherwise so self-confident foot troops hesitantly came around the corners and fought their way into the building entrances opposite to Rigaer94. The fireworks reached a climax once again before the temporary autonomous zone was completely dissolved and the neighborhood was subjected to the total control of the police apparatus, almost in accordance with the official schedule. According to initial assessments, there were no arrests. Further reports of the upcoming events surrounding the Red Zone and the alleged fire safety inspection of Rigaer94 will surely follow.
Erection of the Autonomous Zone
In a blitz action, we have turned Rigaer Straße between Zellestraße and Liebigstraße into an autonomous zone. With barricades at both ends, with many people as support, we try to anticipate the establishment of the Red Zone, which is planned by the police for today at 3 pm. The Red Zone is supposed to be an area of total control of this street that has been fought over for decades. We have had numerous experiences in recent months and years with this type of state of emergency. Several blocks are subjected to purely police orders, residents have to submit to searches and controls, assemblies are basically forbidden. The goal is to ban protest and resistance from the places where they could really hit the ruling class. During the last evictions and also on May 1st, the Interior Senate has repeatedly subjugated entire streets in this way. As a gathering in solidarity with Rigaer94, we have therefore decided not to wait until things are done, but to take the area, so that in the end we don’t have to watch the police act unhindered in front of the police fences several blocks away.
Here in Friedrichshain, despite the state’s fantasies of omnipotence, the history of organized resistance and rebellion lives on. With today’s action we bring the awareness to the streets that the city should actually belong to the people, that the houses have no owners, that the state is not needed here and should be abolished as its a a guarantor for real estate speculation in particular and capitalism in general. Who should do that, if not us.
In our limited possibilities we decided to use this day to realize our ideas of solidarity and freedom at least in this street. Rigaer Straße is especially close to our hearts, as we have been trying to live self-organized and rebellious here for more than 30 years. Tomorrow, Thursday, a full-frontal attack on our local structures is planned. Just a little more than half a year after the eviction of the anarcha-queer-feminist house project Liebig34 a few meters away, Rigaer94 is to be kicked to the curb. It is no secret that the alleged fire safety inspection was already planned to evict the house in March. Also this time this state attack aims at the suppression of the individuals and collectives struggling here as well as at the destruction of a house that represents an important infrastructure. We as an assembly call on everyone to join the resistance against the eviction. From now on we have to take things into our own hands.
Short update about us: We are fine, the helicopter is circling, the street smells like smoke and we have fire in our hearts ! Let’s keep it up and defend what is ours ! Defend autonomous spaces ! Rigaer remains !!!
Assembly in solidarity with Rigaer Street, June 16, 2021