Police evacuate hostel – six squatters arrested

A large number of police cleared an occupied hostel on Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz early on Saturday evening. Six people who had barricaded themselves in the building were provisionally arrested, a police spokeswoman said. She is now being investigated for trespassing.

Police specialists had to break down doors with heavy tools to get to them. They had broken into the Wombat’s City hostel in Mitte in the morning to hang up banners. During the day, 60 police forces had to move out, which were actually supposed to secure demonstrations in connection with Walpurgis Night. The mission is still not over.

“We are still on site with some emergency services as long as the homeowner cannot secure the building on his own,” said a police spokeswoman in the evening. About 20 demonstrators are still opposite the house. They are sitting peacefully on the sidewalk, the spokeswoman said.

A group called Hotels to Housing had previously committed to the action on Alte Schönhauser Straße. “This morning we occupied the Wombat’s City Hostel in Berlin, which has been vacant since 2019”, the squatters said in a tweet. They are obviously concerned with opening up the building with 80 empty rooms for refugees. The Berlin Senate must ensure that “decent and self-administered accommodation” is created in the house.

“Not everyone who flees has a Ukrainian passport”

According to the press release, the activists want to draw attention to the situation of Ukraine refugees from third countries: “Not everyone who flees has a Ukrainian passport. But everyone needs a safe home,” it says.

The background to this is probably the question, which has not yet been clarified between the federal and state governments, about long-term residence and work permits for this group of people. In the letter, the squatters call on the Senate to “expropriate all vacant buildings in Berlin and make them available to those seeking protection for self-managed accommodation”. According to a police spokesman, the number of squatters should be in the small single digits.

The action of the squatters is also said to be related to the announced eviction of a shelter for the homeless on Habersaathstrasse. The property management there apparently wants to make the premises free for Ukraine refugees.

Police have spoken to the homeowner

The Berlin police then moved out in the morning with initially 30 officers who surrounded the building. Around 60 demonstrators then gathered in front of the house on Alte Schönhauser Strasse for a rally. The police then tried to reach the owner of the site and – as is usual in such cases – to make arrangements with him.

At 4:10 p.m. there is said to have been a conversation between the operations management and the homeowner, said a police spokesman. Apparently, they were able to quickly agree on a course of action. In such cases, the police will only act if the owner files a criminal complaint, it said.