Feature

Germany: Where your car could go up in flames

Already this year, at least 23 cars have been set on fire in Berlin&rsquo;s streets&mdash;that&rsquo;s a rate of almost one a night, said Gilbert Schomaker in the <em>Berliner Morgenpost.</em>

Gilbert SchomakerBerliner Morgenpost

Don’t park your car in Berlin, said Gilbert Schomaker. Already this year, at least 23 cars have been set on fire in Berlin’s streets—that’s a rate of almost one a night. Most of the torchings took place in Friedrichshain, a neighborhood of workers, artists, and student squats that is starting to become gentrified. And we know who’s responsible. The “Autonomists,” a group of far-left anarchist types, put up videos on YouTube of themselves burning expensive cars as a protest against capitalism and industrial technology, and, most of all, against the rich. Yet the authorities seem helpless. Berlin’s police chief “says he’s doing all he can,” but he refuses to appoint a special commission. The state interior minister, meanwhile, shrugs that “in a free society, you have to put up with some crime.” Why are they being so defeatist? A free society ought to be a place where you can park your Porsche or Mercedes without fear of having it burned. Besides, if the Autonomists force all the well-off people out of the neighborhood, it will become nothing but a poor ghetto, and then everyone loses.

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