Berlin: Not the walk in the park we expected


Advertisement
Germany's flag
Europe » Germany » Berlin » Berlin
May 31st 2018
Published: June 1st 2018
Edit Blog Post

It was a glorious Sunday morning, our first day in Berlin, and we decided to start our explorations by checking out the Tiergarten, the large park at the centre of the city. The trains were surprisingly full so we were standing in a crush of people barely managing to be inside the tram doors, and then we heard what was happening. The far right party, the AFD, had announced a demonstration outside the Brandenburg Gate. In response, a wide range of groups had anounced many counter demonstrations across the city for the same time, and the people on our tram were headed for the "Dance Against Hate" rally to be held close to the AFD rally, with very loud techno music to drown them out.


Additional photos below
Photos: 25, Displayed: 22


Advertisement

We found the first of the counter-rally vehicles.We found the first of the counter-rally vehicles.
We found the first of the counter-rally vehicles.

Putting the final touches on their signage.
Truck after truck was lined up with their attendant operators and support teams.Truck after truck was lined up with their attendant operators and support teams.
Truck after truck was lined up with their attendant operators and support teams.

We didn't realize why there were all these trucks, but the deal was amplification of sound, so there were big powerful speakers on them.
Groups were quietly growing, finding their friends.Groups were quietly growing, finding their friends.
Groups were quietly growing, finding their friends.

For me, it was electric and so familiar.
Reaching the new buildings of government, we heard the amplified emphatic speeches.Reaching the new buildings of government, we heard the amplified emphatic speeches.
Reaching the new buildings of government, we heard the amplified emphatic speeches.

The woman speaking sounded so tough, we assumed we had found the AFD. But no, this was a counter rally.
Berlin has beautiful modern government buildings.Berlin has beautiful modern government buildings.
Berlin has beautiful modern government buildings.

So much of the city was flattened by the end of WWII.
But no AFD at the Brendenburg Gate.But no AFD at the Brendenburg Gate.
But no AFD at the Brendenburg Gate.

They were marching from the main train station and hadn't arrived yet, but the police had the area cordoned off this far back.
Determined prevention of engagement between the antagonistic groups.Determined prevention of engagement between the antagonistic groups.
Determined prevention of engagement between the antagonistic groups.

News reports later said: 2000 police, 5000 AFD supporters, 25,000 anti-AFD.
The Quadriga atop the Brandenburg Gate: 4 horses drawing a woman in a chariotThe Quadriga atop the Brandenburg Gate: 4 horses drawing a woman in a chariot
The Quadriga atop the Brandenburg Gate: 4 horses drawing a woman in a chariot

This mega-statue first symbolized Peace. Napolean stole it and had it taken to Paris. (HOW?) When it was won back and returned to Berlin it then came to symbolize Victory.
The Brandenburg Gate from the anti-AFD rally side. The rallying groups were kept very separate.The Brandenburg Gate from the anti-AFD rally side. The rallying groups were kept very separate.
The Brandenburg Gate from the anti-AFD rally side. The rallying groups were kept very separate.

I remember being so proud of President John F. Kennedy, after the building of the Berlin Wall, standing here and announcing "Ich bin ein Berliner". The intention of the statement was clearly understood, although it could also have meant "I am a donut", because a berliner was a kind of pastry as well.
Close to the Brandenburg Gate, the massive memorial to the murdered Jews.Close to the Brandenburg Gate, the massive memorial to the murdered Jews.
Close to the Brandenburg Gate, the massive memorial to the murdered Jews.

As you travel through Europe, it's clear that WWII has not been forgotten.
Quieter Guerilla activism Quieter Guerilla activism
Quieter Guerilla activism

The bottom yellow sign on the public transport normally reads Dogs Allowed, not No AFD.


2nd June 2018

Dance Against Hate
Did you join the Dance Against Hate rally? I've only been to Berlin once but would love to return at some point in time. I hope you managed to go inside the Reichstag too. I'm looking forward to talking to you about your travels when you get home. M xx

Tot: 0.089s; Tpl: 0.055s; cc: 8; qc: 24; dbt: 0.0132s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 2; ; mem: 1.2mb