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Berliners protest after rents double in a decade

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By Daniel Bellamy
Berliners protest after rents double in a decade

Thousands of Berliners angry at rapidly rising housing rents descended on Alexanderplatz square on Saturday.

Although rents are below Paris and London, they've doubled in the past decade as the city's economy has boomed.

"Last year Berlin saw the highest price rises in property values in the entire world, last year it was 20 percent," Thomas McGath, representative of the campaign Expropriate Deutsche Wohnen, said at the protest.

Deutsche Wohnen owns 110,000 apartments in Berlin, making it the largest property company in the city.

"Large corporations are coming into the city, international corporations with the backing of large asset firms are coming in and buying up lots and lots of apartments," McGath said.

Protesters want the government to take over about a quarter of a million apartments and reduce rents.

"I moved out in 2018, my name was on the doorbell for six months. Then the building was renovated - now the rent is 630 euros, approximately three times what it was," Berliner Jonni Wiertz said.