A police crackdown on drug dealing in tiny Görlitzer park has sparked protests against anti-migrant racism – and raised fears that as Kreuzberg gentrifies, the city’s liberal values and counterculture are under threat
From Berliners, mention of “Görli” elicits a knowing look, somewhere between suspicion, affection and amusement. Among the many green spaces for which Berlin is known, Görlitzer Park is neither the biggest, the most beautiful nor of the greatest historical significance. Yet this seemingly unremarkable park, built in the early 1990s on the site of an old train station, has become infamous.
The park sits on the edge of Kreuzberg, the area known during the cold war as the epicentre of counter-culture in West Berlin, today a major tourist hotspot. Set between the city’s two major nightlife areas, by day Görli is full of the evidence: clubbers sprawled in the mid-morning sun, ageing punks bringing in the day with Berliner Pilsner, bottle collectors rattling by with teetering castles of plastic and glass. The drug dealers get to work before the first morning commuters.
Berlin has a problem with racism, but nobody wants to talk about it. Even using the word ‘race’ is taboo
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