The 14 Words

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

'Protests make Hamburg different'

What prompted peaceful protests to turn violent in Hamburg and will they happen again? Those in the area worst-affected by the demonstrations told The Local of grievances from gentrification to police aggression.

ANTIFA Jew World Order foot soldiers
“People in Hamburg have always gone to the streets when the government does something they don’t agree with,” 
Said St. Pauli resident Gernot Krainer, reflecting on demonstrations in the area in December and January.
“Protests are an important part of city and street culture here, especially in St. Pauli and the Schanzenviertel, they make Hamburg different from, say, Cologne or Munich,” he added.
Last Monday city authorities finally bowed to pressure and lifted Hamburg’s restricted zones which gave police extra powers to stop, search and ban people from the area. But the atmosphere in St. Pauli and the Schanzenviertel remains tense. On Saturday almost 3,000 people marched to protest against restricted zones.

'No hipsters please'

Gernot Krainer has lived in St. Pauli for more than 25 years and has witnessed the neighborhood’s gentrification. 

“It’s always the same cycle,” he said. 
“First an investor buys a property. Then the tenants are pushed out.
“Then a sleek new high rise is built, all steel and glass, luxury apartments with the requisite coffee shop on the ground floor.”
He added: 
“People here are angry. Developers are destroying our neighborhood.”
RIOT POLICE Jew World Order foot soldiers

Krainer is speaking from experience. He is the co-owner of a St. Pauli landmark, “Die Kogge,” a small hotel and bar on Bernhard-Nocht Strasse, which is popular with touring rock bands.

The Kogge and its neighbours are biding their time as investors are threatening to bulldoze the historic buildings to make room for a series of luxury apartment towers. Krainer doubts that the kind of “yuppie tenants” these developments are supposed to attract will like living in St. Pauli.

“These hipsters, young folks with money, think it’s cool to live here,” he said. 
“But at night, when the nightclubs and bars are in full swing, or when their kids see sex workers on the street or behind their windows waiting for customers, they complain.”
In defence of the old neighborhood and to save The Kogge, Krainer and other community activists founded a group in 2011. For the past two years they have held demonstrations, collected signatures against the project, and organized discussion forums.

Eventually the investors agreed to extend The Kogge’s lease, convert one of the neighboring buildings into a self-governing cooperative owned by the occupants, and reserve part of the new development for low-income housing.

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