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#223: More AfD gains, more demos, more bears at the zoo
Germany's first traffic light. Maybe.
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Ugh, that party again
The Sonntagsfrage (Sunday question) is Germany’s favorite gauge of voter sentiment — pollsters ask voters how they would vote if elections were this Sonntag (Sunday). And the latest Sonntagsfrage among Berlin voters from public broadcaster RBB is disappointingly predictable: The conservative CDU would get 29% of the votes, up from 28.2% in February’s election, and the center-left SPD (the CDU’s current coalition partner) 15%, down a jarring 3.4 percentage points. And of course: the right-wing AfD would jump to 15% from 9.1%, putting it level with the SPD. The single surprise: the environmental die Grüne rose to 19% from 18.4% — they’ve been dropping in national polls because of the evermore apparent cost to save the environment. Oh, and the left-wing Die Linke slipped to 10% from 12.2%. Analysis: the would-be fascists in the AfD are winning voters from parties left of the middle. Weird.
Demonstrations continue, synagogue attacked
Police said Thursday night was largely uneventful after two turbulent days of demonstrations that included 194 arrests, 270 charges and 65 injured cops, mostly at pro-Palestinian protests Wednesday, according to RBB24. Police are also being criticized for a blanket ban on pro-Palestinian protests based on fears of violence. And, late Tuesday, police said two unknown suspects hurled molotov cocktails at a synagogue on Brunnenstrasse even after officials had heightened security at Jewish institutions across the city-state. A pro-Israel demonstration is planned for 2pm Sunday at the Brandenburg Gate with news outlets saying 10,000 people are expected to show solidarity.
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The bears are back
Good news or bad news depending on your personal relationship with zoos: European brown bears have returned to the Berlin Zoo (not to be confused with the Tierpark, Berlin’s other zoo) after a seven-year absence. The zoo took three bruins from the shuttered Orsa predator park in Sweden. Lucifer (!), Lillebror and Momoa are all four years old and are on display in the revamped bear environment next to European wolves — fitting as both are trying to make a return to the wilds of Europe. The then-31-year-old Siddy was moved to a Wuppertal zoo in 2016 because the Berlin Zoo didn’t at the time have enough room for the apex predator. She is a true Berlinerin and was born at the zoo, according to Berliner Woche.
Germany’s first (or maybe second) electric traffic light was completed on this day in 1924 at Potsdamer Platz after traffic in then-booming Berlin became impossible to manage. The traffic light didn’t go into use until December of that year because this is Germany and there is bureaucracy to complete. The light was only manned (and operated) from 8.30am to 12pm and 3pm to 6pm initially. There’s some controversy about whether or not Berlin or Hamburg was the first to operate and I couldn’t figure it out either. The replica light there now is not connected to the actual lights but could serve as a pretty cool student apartment (no bathroom and probably no Anmeldung tho). Shout out to Berlin Companion for today’s factoid.
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