11.9.14

Rooftop Protestors Say Police Withheld Food, Water

The nine men who were living on the roof of a Friedrichshain hostel to protest their sudden eviction from it by police two weeks ago, have finally come down for health reasons. Yesterday, they told a Taz reporter that the police withheld food that was brought up to them by well-wishers, and then ate it in front of their eyes. Police also denied water to a protestor who had tuberculosis, and a police doctor refused to examine the man close-up.  
This translated article from the Taz has more details...


BERLIN taz | The rooftop squatters at a refugee hostel in Friedrichshain Gürtelstraße have raised some serious allegations against the Berlin police and politicians. They say that an official statement that was made last Saturday, claiming that the protesters were regularly examined by a police doctor during their rooftoop occupation, is a lie.

"In 13 days a doctor came twice, but he remained ten feet away from us," said Mohamed Danko from Niger on Tuesday, at a press conference that was held in Oranienplatz by the rooftop squatters.

Since the end of the rooftop occupation, Danko has come to a bitter conclusion: "There are no human rights for refugees in Germany, there is no democracy and no freedom for blacks." On Sunday evening, the rooftop squatters ended their protest. On Tuesday, eight of them reported from Oranienplatz to say how they were treated during their 13-day blockade.

The police largely denied them water and food over the 13-day period, as well as access to lawyers or pastors - a fact which still leaves Danko and the other men stunned. "I'm amazed that the interior minister is now saying that our asylum agreement is invalid. And that a court allows the police to starve us," says Danko. Over three days, the men got half a liter of water a day for nine men, says Ibrahim Amadou. "There was a bit of bread for Mohamed because he is sick. But for the rest of us, there was nothing. "

Mohamed Danko, who is suffering from tuberculosis, was given his medicine by the police after two days, although they gave it to him without water initially. Eventually he was given some water, but no solid food, as his doctor said it necessary for him to have. "I asked the police: 'Is that how they do it with you, over here?'" says Danko. "And he said: 'Yes, it’s just the way it is here.'"

Danko, Amadou and a third man with the first name Saidu also report that police officers kept the food that was brought to them by residents and a pastor, and then ate it in front of their eyes.

"The police said to us: 'If you do not come down you will die. No one cares about you, you will be forgotten.’  That is why we are down - we did not want to die, "says Saidu.

Danko says: "In Africa we have experienced hunger and war, and we came here to survive, not to die." They are not criminals; they want to live in peace in Berlin, and study and work.

Saidu says the decisive factor for the end of their protest was that Danko had to give up the rooftop occupation for health reasons; he came down in the early hours of Sunday. In addition, the only non-policeman who was allowed to go to them, the pastor of Kreuzberg Holy Cross Church,  has offered to give the men a month in his community property.  They are now living there in offices without beds or a place to retreat. What's next after that? The men do not know.

Meanwhile, the rest of the 50 or so evictees from that hostel are still living rough.  You can show support for them by dropping by Guertelstrasse park camp (at the corner of Frankfurter Allee) or checking out the info stand in Oranienplatz.

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...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, streetart, left-wing activism, social media trends and green issues. Other publications that I have written for include: Urban Challenger Blog, Siegesaeule, Shlur, Alternative Berlin, Sensanostra.