Political protests are a Berlin signature dish. They combine all the characteristics of the city: left-wing activism, loud music, spontaneous riots and an awareness of political and historical relevance of these gatherings. We have also had a history of documenting the most important demonstrations and rallies in the city (a few examples: Anti-GEMA, Stop ACTA!, Banken in die Schranken, and our favorite: Atomkraft Wegbassen!). Demonstrations always resemble big raves that go beyond all demographic and social borders.
Last weekend, civilians, institutions, organizations and political parties have united again to rally against the upcoming TTIP agreement in Berlin. With approximately 200.000 protesters on Berlins street, the rally was a strong symbol for the lawmakers of the world. Apparently, when the rally finished it’s target for the final speech, 50.000 people were still at the Hauptbahnhof (where the rally began) waiting to walk forward. Sick. I wasn’t there because I am a lazy person and also because I have no final opinion on the whole matter, but still, kudos to the impressive feat.
For those who don’t know what the TTIP Handelsabkommen is about: this treaty between Canada / USA and Europe is an economic valve that could let big companies profit from lower trade and customs thresholds (this is the really, really short version of it). People, especially Germans, are scared of letting North American products flood European markets without any supervision and restrictions. Nobody knows what the TTIP treaty will entail in detail, so the fears are also particularly vague.
Marcus went to the demonstration last Saturday and took many beautiful pictures of this particularly cold day. 200.000 people who unite against something: isn’t that a sign? Shouldn’t politicians be wary of the outcome of such a treaty?
But it’s not just good vs. bad as always. With TTIP, it’s complicated, as the interests of the opposition also seem to align with many right-wing groups. The polarizing issue and its debate can be fully followed on the news, but we didn’t want to pass on it without leaving you with the rest of the impressions. If you know nothing about it, just read Reddit like the rest of us who’re out of the loop. If anything, it’s crazy how Berliners (and Germans) can be so passionate about their politics and the state of their nation, especially in regards to keeping it “homemade”. Whether the rest of the world respects the demonstrations at hand or not, you have to hand it to us: we know how to organize a protest. And they’re not just interesting because of the symbolic meaning, but also because of all the different characters that seem to collide at these melting points. Sometimes you can’t differentiate a contemporary protest from an actual rave, that’s how eclectic the people are. Love it, Berlin! Thanks to Marcus for the images!