Foretaste of May 1st: Thousands take to the streets in Berlin

Foretaste of May 1st
Thousands take to the streets in Berlin

Traditionally, there are demonstrations by left-wing groups on Walpurgis Night. This is also the case this year, but with restrictions due to the corona pandemic. Around 3500 people take to the streets in Berlin. It’s just a little taste of May 1st.

Around 3,500 demonstrators took to the streets peacefully on the eve of May 1st in Berlin. According to the police, around 1,500 people protested in Wedding for social changes in the evening and largely adhered to the Corona rules.

A protest by feminist groups against patriarchy and capitalism that was started in Kreuzberg was ended prematurely by the organizers. According to the police, bottles, stones and eggs were thrown at police officers from the elevator. Police officers were not hit by the throws. With around 2000 participants, significantly more came than expected. Only a few hundred were registered.

Already pre-glowing for May 1st: Around 1,500 demonstrators marched through Wedding.

(Photo: picture alliance / dpa)

According to the police, two people were arrested for a short time at the demonstration in Wedding. Left and radical left groups called for the meeting under the motto “From crisis to expropriation”. Bengal fires were waved and smoke pots lit on balconies and from the roof of a corner house as the demonstrators walked by.

After the demonstration at Gesundbrunnen S-Bahn station, the participants quickly dispersed. Numerous banners were displayed during the demonstration. It read, for example: “The rich should pay”, “Housing, businesses and hospitals in our hands” or “End homelessness”. “No return on rent” was also loudly chanted.

5000 police officers on duty on Saturday

The motto of the feminist groups was: “Take back the night – we take the night back”. The train with many dark-clad women from the left spectrum was also temporarily stopped on the way to the Friedrichshain district because pyrotechnics were ignited, as a police spokeswoman said. The meeting management then apparently no longer had their demonstration under control and a little later declared it to be over.

According to the police, almost 2,000 emergency services were out and about in the city on Friday alone. As in the previous year, parties and street festivals on Walpurgis Night were canceled due to the corona pandemic and exit restrictions. The police spokeswoman was satisfied with how the Walpurgis Night has gone so far. There have been few temporary arrests across the city.

More than 5,000 police officers should be on duty on May 1st. Officials from several federal states as well as from the federal police support the capital city police. More than 20 demonstrations were registered, including the so-called May Day Revolutionary demonstration on Saturday evening with thousands of participants. The so-called lateral thinkers also wanted to demonstrate on the May holiday.

Police chief Barbara Slowik expected a “demanding, demanding situation”. She announced on the RBB Inforadio that if the corona rules were violated, demonstrations would be quickly disbanded. Because of the distance rules, according to the police chief, the demonstration trains could be several kilometers long. Accordingly, there are also barriers to streets and squares.

Quiet start in Hamburg

In Hamburg, meanwhile, the first rallies by left and left-wing extremist groups initially took place without major incidents. At the largest gathering at Sternschanze station, several hundred people came together, the police said. Since only 200 people were allowed to attend the “class party” organized by the left-wing extremist Rote Aufbau, due to the corona, the applicant was asked to limit the number of participants. According to the information, more than 600 people had gathered in the area and at the meeting at times. The police were present with a strong contingent.

When the officials tried to push back advancing demonstrators on the station forecourt, there was a minor scuffle. A woman had previously been provisionally arrested for refusing to wear a mask or to leave the square in the crowd. At a second “class party” of the Red Structure, which was classified as violence-oriented by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the police counted 90 participants, as many as at a “queer feminist rally” on Hans-Albers-Platz in St. Pauli. The police spoke of a largely calm course at all three events.