Protesters Occupy Berlin Until Evicted by Police (Photos and Video)


Image: Corner of a Life/CC BY 2.0

As the Occupy Wall Street Protests spread around the globe, masses marched on the parliament in Berlin and the banks in Frankfurt, as well as in capitals across Europe. But at the end of the day in Berlin, police moved in. Their orders: no tent cities.

Although mainstream media depicted the evacuations as peaceful, protesters used social media to sharephotos and video (overleaf) of the more brutal action necessary to remove tents from the midst of the chanting crowd.Germany's Die Welt newspaper presented the evictions as peaceful, choosing to draw attention to the naked protesters in their slideshow. But the Occupy Berlin Facebook wall highlights the uglier side of the evacuation in a video showing police taking action to remove a tent as protestors chant loudly (in German) "the tent stays here!"


Video: OccupyBerlin on facebook

The action starts about four and a half minutes into the video, when police delicately attempt to approach but cannot without stepping on the densely packed protestors surrounding the tent. The chant changes to "Shame on you" as the police begin physically removing those sitting around the tent to clear the approach -- although it must be said that police appear to be working as gently as possible to fulfill their mission.

At nine minutes in, protester's cameras finally catch the footage that grows movements as two policemen lash out at the Occupy Berlin protesters in frustration, jerking one protester off the ground by his head and flailing against the head and neck of another seated nearby -- until they are pulled away from their task by a colleague calling for retreat now that the tent has been successfully removed.


Image: Occupy Berlin shared by facebook user Aurel Hu

No one knows the theme "occupation" better than Berlin. Berliners have witnessed a long, and mostly losing, battle between people who believe in the right of the masses to occupy underutilized buildings as art studios or group homes and those who want to return the space to for-profit use. Perhaps the government's experience with the difficulty of removing "occupiers" once they have settled in contributes to the orders to prevent encampments from taking root.

Occupy Berlin has called for protesters to reconvene again today to continue the movement. But the question raised by the "Occupy Wall Street" protest in Berlin, and around the globe, remains: can the "Occupy" movement become "too big to fail"?

More on the Occupy Movement:
Ongoing coverage of Occupy Wall Street
More on Activism:
Start Where You Live
Why #OccupyWallStreet May Be Progressive Turning Point
Why Environmentalists Should Care About the Occupy Wall Street Protest
The Occupy Everywhere Campaign Cannot Be Ignored

Tags: Activism | Germany