Berlin: Eviction on Pfarrstraße (February 24th, 1998)

 Squat Evicted, Dog Shot And Killed

Police Fired Shots During Squat Eviction In Berlin

On Tuesday morning, February 24, a masked special police unit with automatic pistols burst into the squatted house at Pfarrstrasse 104 in the Lichtenberg district of East Berlin. One squatter watched as his bull terrier dog was shot three times and killed. Local authorities said the eviction proceeded “with few incidents”. 260 police were called in to evict 15 people from the house. Berlin’s right-wing Interior Minister, Jorg Schonbohm, commented: “With our action, we have made it clear that illegal conditions will not be tolerated in the capital. As Interior Minister, I will see to it that there are no more squats in the future.”

Lichtenberg’s local mayor, Wolfram Friedersdorff, had told police that there were not to be any squat evictions without his prior notice. Friedersdorff is on vacation at the moment. The squatters think police used that as an opportunity to carry out a quick strike.

For the past two years, the squatters in Pfarrstrasse 104 had been negotiating with the owners of the property to get legal contracts. But the owner broke off talks last fall. Instead of filing charges in a civil court, last October the owner went ahead and told police to go after the squatters for breaking and entering. That seems to have led to the eviction order. A lawyer for the squatters, many of whom had used the house as their legal address for the past five years, is trying to have a court declare the eviction illegal. The squatters say they never received any eviction notices by mail before the police action. But even if a court does rule in the squatters’ favor, it won’t do the people now on the streets any good. The cops have destroyed most of the interior of the house, and the gas and electricity have been turned off. The Pfarrstrasse, once full of squats in the early 1990s, has now been cleared out. Riot police evicted the other remaining squat on the street, the Pfarrstrasse 88, last summer.

(written with info from ‘junge Welt’, February 25, 1998)