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#200: Görlitzer Park, queer lights, start-up slump
A free Indian festival in Mitte
Dear 20 Percent,
The police say they’ve arrested a second suspect in an alleged gang rape in Görlitzer Park. On June 21, a 27-year-old women was raped by several men after they attacked and injured her boyfriend. Police say the perpetrators belong to the Görli drug-dealing scene. The case, one of eight reported incidents of sexual violence in the park this year so far, has reignited a debate over safety in the park and the surrounding area.
An obvious measure that could be implemented relatively quickly (well, who knows in Berlin) is building a fence around the park and locking the gates at sunset, a common practice in other cities. Security cameras could help, though expect a drawn-out debate about data protection before that happens. More complicated issues need to be debated, too. For example, the question of whether the legalisation of cannabis planned for next year could dry up some of the dealers’ business.
Also, it’s well known that many of the dealers there are asylum seekers or refugees with no right to work legally. Allowing immigrants waiting for their applications to be processed to take on legal employment would make petty crime less attractive, possibly creating a safer atmosphere.
In the long term, much much more needs to be done to combat toxic attitudes towards women among boys and young men.
This is such a sad development — women have often told me they felt safe in Berlin after dark all across the city but that appears to be changing. And Görlitzer Park has clearly become a no-go zone.
More news below.
P.S. If you’re here for the first time — why not subscribe to 20% Berlin? We deliver midday Tuesdays and Fridays. And please do check out today’s sponsor, expat-friendly insurance provider Get Safe (more below).
A summer story we’re happy to cover: Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district mayor Clara Herrmann (Grüne) has written to city transport boss Manja Schreiner (CDU) proposing new same-sex couples to replace some of the district’s Ampelmännchen, the red and green lights at pedestrian crossings. “In order to continue to improve the visibility of the LGBTIQ* community in the district, I would like to advocate for a visible sign in public space,” Herrmann wrote. Tagesspiegel has the story and a mock-up. Berlin, sadly, didn’t come up with the idea. Our southern rival Munich has had a few lights with same-sex pictograms since 2019.
Airline Lufthansa told RBB it’s seeking damages from Letzte Generation climate activists for business lost when the protestors glued themselves to runways at BER, Hamburg and Düsseldorf airports over the past year. A spokesperson for the carrier said the disruptions resulted in cancellations of Lufthansa flights as well as flights at its subsidiaries Austrian, Swiss and Eurowings. Charter airlines Tuifly and Condor are also looking into legal action.
The low interest rate party is fizzling out in Berlin. The capital’s start-ups raised 50% less venture capital in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same period last year. 170 finance deals worth €1.44 bln were made January-June this year versus 219 deals worth €3.25 bln a year earlier. Nonetheless, Berlin was able to attract 47% of the venture capital that flowed into German firms.
Bollywood, beats, bites
This coming Saturday, the Indian Embassy is putting on Namaste Berlin one-day festival at Villa Elizabeth in Mitte. What’s not to like about Indian eats, movies, concerts, folk dancing, kids yoga and DJs. Free of charge, but registration required. The info.
On August 5, 1943, two days before her 20th birthday, Liane Berkowitz was executed by guillotine at Plötzensee prison. Berkowitz belonged to a Berlin resistance group and was sentenced to death for “aiding the preparation of high treason and aiding the enemy”. Her actual crime? Pasting around 100 small flyers on and around Ku’damm in protest of an anti-communist exhibition titled “The Soviet Paradise”. Her stickers read:
The Nazi Paradise
War, Hunger, Lies, Gestapo
How much longer?
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