Germany: BMWs ablaze in bobo Berlin

25 November 2009
Frankfurter Rundschau

, 1 January 1970

Cars are burning bright by night in Berlin: 267 autos have been charred this year to date, reports the Frankfurter Rundschau. Whilst the tabloids fulminate against those “damned anarchist arsonists terrorising” Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Porsche owners by torching their fancy cars in such rapidly gentrifying neighbourhoods as Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg, Berlin-Mitte and Pankow, the police have yet to come up with an effective strategy to quell the arsonists. According to Berlin’s intelligence service, these firebugs are from the left-wing autonomist scene and, the paper explains, they light into manifestations of the newcomers’ conspicuous consumption, holding them accountable for driving out the artists and students who used to live in these erstwhile working-class neighbourhoods. To fight the phenomenon of rampant gentrification, the FR adduces the example of Hamburg, where a bunch of artists got the city senate to try to buy back a neighbourhood threatened with a huge development project and restore it with their help.