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Anarcho-queer-feminist housing project forcibly evicted after three decades by 1,500 police officers in riot gear

Lily Wakefield October 9, 2020
Liebig34

Police stand outside Liebigstrasse 34, also known as Liebig34, during the eviction of its residents on October 09, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Omer Messinger/Getty)

Liebig34, an “anarcho-queer-feminist” housing project in Berlin, has been cleared of residents following a contentious eviction involving around 1,500 police officers.

Officers from eight German states, including specialist units, descended on Liebigstrasse 34, commonly known as Liebig34, in Berlin on Friday (October 9) to forcibly evict residents.

Hundreds of protesters gathered outside to block the mass eviction, according to Deutsche WelleOfficers drove a van up to the building and tried to break through the barricaded door, but fights began to break out between police and protesters.

Police claimed that protesters threw fireworks and glass at officers, and that tires, dumpsters and the Tiergarten metro station building were set on fire.

The residents of Liebig34 said police stopped their lawyer from entering the house, and that therefore the “eviction is still illegal”. However Berlin police announced on Twitter Friday morning that Liebig34 had been cleared of residents, after they removed 57 people from the building.

 

Liebig34 is one of Berlin’s last remaining leftist squats.

Liebigstrasse 34 is located in the neighbourhood of Friedrichshain, which has gradually been gentrified as property prices have soared.

It was described by its occupants as an “anarcho-queer-feminist housing project” and has stood for 30 years.

Earlier this month, an eviction notice was served to the community living there, on behalf of a court order by the building’s owner, Gijora Padovicz.

Padovicz refused to renew the community’s decade-long rental contract in 2018, and began legal proceedings to have them evicted. He owns hundreds of Berlin properties and has been accused of letting them deteriorate so he can renovate them and massively increase rent.

Liebig34
Police deployed outside Liebigstrasse 34, also known as Liebig34, during the eviction of its residents on October 09, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu Agency via Getty)
A resident clenches his fist as he is lead by police over a ladder out of the squatted building at Liebig Street 34 during the eviction of squatters in the east Berlin neighborhood of Friedrichshain on October 9, 2020. (ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty)

Liebig34 said in a statement on October 6: “For 30 years, Liebig 34 has been a place for people who are affected by various forms of patriarchal violence, who are affected by hostility to trans people and who are marginalised in other ways.

“During all this time, Liebig34 gave people who experience stalking a place of refuge, made rooms available to refugees, homeless women were able to knock on the door and breathe in our guest room for a while from the cold and violence.

“Those affected by sexual violence experience solidarity and protection at this place. People who do not conform to binary gender norms, or want to transition find a space for development here that is usually not available in a heteronormatively structured society .

Liebig34
“The future is queer” is written on a wall inside the squatted building Liebig34 pictured after the eviction of squatters in the east Berlin neighborhood of Friedrichshain on October 9, 2020. (TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP via Getty)
A police officer peeks from one of the windows of Liebigstrasse 34, also known as Liebig34, during the eviction of its residents on October 09, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Omer Messinger/Getty)

“Women and LGBT+ people in precarious living situations could live in the Liebig34, while otherwise there was hardly any opportunity to gain a foothold in Berlin due to rent prices and discriminatory housing and moving-in policy.

“The new construction projects of this street and this city promise a supposedly ideal world, created for all those who have enough capital to evade the real contradictions and problems of this society.

“The Liebig 34 is a place where people cannot and do not want to afford it… The evacuation of the Liebig34 is an act of violence, because to take people from their living space and shelter by force is inhuman.

“But the Liebig34 is not just a house that is lived in, the Liebig34 is a house that is loved and lived, day after day, for 30 years.

“And places that you love aren’t so easy to give up. You fight for them, by any means. With all your might. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. We will not give up this house voluntarily, but will defend every part of our utopia manifested in concrete.”

 

 

More: Berlin, Liebig34, Liebigstrasse 34

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