What began early Saturday as a peaceful demonstration led by leftist protesters ended in the most violent protest that Berlin has seen in recent years.
Squatters and their supporters marched through the city’s Eastern neighborhood of Friedrichshain to express disdain for recent trends of gentrification.
Tensions have been rising between squatters and the city’s officials since June, when police issued evictions for a squatted house in Friedrichshain, resulting in dozens of cars being set aflame throughout the city in response.
To maintain peace at Saturday’s protest, 1,800 police officers were deployed. As the evening’s events escalated and the protest grew to 3,500 people, “cobblestones, firecrackers, and glass bottles” were reportedly thrown, injuring 123 officers and resulting in the arrest of 86 protesters.
Gentrification in Berlin has been a publicly expressed point of contention for many residents in recent years. As the artistic and cultural hub of Germany’s capital becomes increasingly sought after and the cost of living continues to rise, many who were previously able to squat are being forced out of the neighborhoods that they have occupied for years.