Dozens of Berlin Police Injured in Clashes With House Squatters

Sixty German police officers were injured in clashes with squatters on June 16 over an occupied building complex in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, neighborhood in Berlin.

Squatters occupying the 94 Rigaer Strasse apartment complex hit officers with stones when police arrived to secure the area ahead of a fire inspection.

About 200 people attacked officers with stones from the street and from the roof, police stated on Twitter, adding that the attackers set barricades on fire on the street.

Occupants fear that the inspection could lead to their eviction from one of Berlin’s last remaining squats after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Police had to withdraw from the scene and returned with tactical vehicles and water cannons to extinguish the flames. With the assistance of climbing experts, officers later climbed the building complex to remove the stones placed on the roof by occupants.

Police then declared the area to be restricted from general use until June 18. They also banned demonstrations.

Berlin Interior Senator Andreas Geisel condemned the violence and said there can be no special treatment or a “law for Rigaer Strasse.”

“Whoever sets fire to car tires, is not fighting for leftist ‘free space’ but intimidates one’s own neighborhood,” Geisel said.

According to authorities, the complex building consisting of three houses and 30 apartments posed an urgent risk to public safety.

Numerous attempts in the past to clear the building complex have failed due to violent protests.

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