On the 24th of June, 2014 the district of Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg made an operation called “voluntary moving”. The idea was to empty the former Gerhart Hauptmann school, occupied by refugees since December 2012. The procedure involved over 1000 police officers and blocked the complete neighbourhood. From the 300 of the school’s inhabitants, around 40 people didn’t accept to leave. Instead they stayed inside and resisted for 9 days on the roof of the building.

On June 24th, 2014 at 10 am in the morning, some 900 police officiers went massively to the squatted school, blocked various important streets of the neighbourhood and prevented public access to the adjoining streets of the refugee strike house. With the police were also members of the district council, which is governed by the Greens (Die Grünen)2, with the intention of evicting and completely vacating the building.

The district had always spoken about a “voluntary moving (move/relocation)” of the squatters of the school, in which the occupants would be transfered and relocated to refugee homes outside of the city, because officialy an order of eviction did not exist. But nevertheless, due to the high pressure and the threat of an eviction, 208 inhabitants did agree to the move. Nevertheless, around 50 refugees and some activists remained on the roof of the building, resisting the eviction and demanding a permit of permanent residency for themselves and for all of the refugees in Germany; to maintain the occupied school for themselves as an autonomous, self-managed place, and for living, permission to work, no accomodations in Heim or Lager, the abolition of the Rezidenzpflicht and finally, for an end to the deportation policy. Some refugees threatened publically to jump from the roof if the police tried to enter the school or to evict them. From that moment on the siege of the police began, which as was stated, lasted for nine days. Meanhile, inside the police cordon, thousands of inhabitants were living in the streets – when ever leaving or coming to their homes, having to identify themselvs to the officers stationed at the barriers/fencing off.

The local shops, bars and bakeries were forced to close since there was no possible public access to their facilities. The kindergardens closed a well on the fifth day of the siege since the parents did not want to send their children through such a situation. On the other side of the police cordon, activists in solidarity with the refugees established an information center with music, an open microphone, a peoples’ kitchen, and an open-air cinema with footage of the refugee protests. Day and night, for 242 hours in total, thousands of people passed by offering a diverse and daily display of increasing solidarity.