Asylum seekers turn former Berlin school into cause celebre

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Asylum seekers turn former Berlin school into cause celebre

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Over 3000 people turned out in Berlin in the latest chapter of the long-running dispute between the city’s Kreuzberg countercultural district and city planners.

Police deployed 900 officers and sealed off streets as an attempt was made to evict a group of asylum seekers and refugees from an old school building that has become a national focal point for issues of immigration, poverty, and housing.

Around 50 of the migrants have climbed onto the roof to resist eviction, but deny reports that said they threatened to burn down the school and them with it if their grievances were not heard.

Some 200 gave up after Tuesday’s failed assault by the police and have left, but many remain and their numbers are being swollen by supporters arriving from all over Germany.

Some are the survivors of a group of 50 who, in 2012 walked here from Bavaria to bring the refugee crisis onto the front pages. They have been squatting in the German capital ever since, and say the government has failed to keep its promises.