2,500 German police clear Berlin squat

2nd February 2011, Comments 0 comments

Some 2,500 German police began clearing one of Berlin's biggest squats Wednesday, running into resistance in surrounding streets that left five officers wounded, one of them hospitalised.

Authorities arrested some 23 activists protesting on the streets against the eviction on public disorder charges, police spokesman Frank Millert told AFP.

The officers, some in riot gear, faced off against several protesters, an eclectic mix including punks covered with piercings and ageing militants in their 50s, said an AFP journalist at the scene.

One protester, a 28-year-old student called Paul, told AFP: "These people here cannot understand that we want to live with only a little bit of money.

"They are driving people like us out onto the outskirts of big cities because of property speculation," he added, dressed in a hooded top, his face masked with a scarf.

"We're here to resist and make it as difficult as possible for them," he said.

On Saturday evening, clashes between protesters and police ahead of the eviction left around 40 officers wounded.

Located on Liebigstrasse in the former communist East Berlin, the building has been occupied by squatters since 1990. Authorities ordered their expulsion following more than four years battling in the courts.

The police said they did not know how many people were in the building.

The inhabitants barricaded themselves into the flats but were swiftly removed by the authorities.

© 2011 AFP

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