On Tuesday, January 7th 2014, the U.S. Embassy issued a warning to its citizens in Hamburg. Americans are being warned to use caution in the Schanzenviertel and St. Pauli areas due to the controversy and resulting violence around the Rote Flora building protests.
Police are now controlling suspicious people in these designated parts of the city. Over 100 people have been stopped and 45 people have been detained. Only one arrest has been made of these 45 detained individuals.
The U.S. Embassy, located in Berlin, has issued an email warning to Americans who live in or might visit Hamburg in the near future. According to Der Tagesspiegel, the embassy warns that citizens should exercise caution in these designated exclusion zones when encountering large groups, protests, and demonstrations.
Rote Flora Today
A few months ago (August 2013), the building was leased by the city to Klaus Kretschmer who had plans to tear the building completely down and build a new six story cultural center. The people currently living and using the building were not happy with this turn of events. Kretschmer demanded that the squatters in the theater must leave by the 20th of December or face being evicted and high fines. He then told police that the eviction process should not be enforced until after Christmas.
"Die Stadt gehört allen!"
On December 21st 2014, a large protest was held for the Rote Flora with over 7000 participants. The protesters demanded that the city belongs to everyone. Stones and bottles were said to be thrown at the police who responded with baton charges, pepper spray, and water canons to subdue the crowd. Over 100 police officers and protesters were reported as injured in the melee. 19 arrests were made for breach of peace.
After several attacks on police during the last week of December, a "Danger Zone" has been declared.
Northern boundary: Holstenkamp, inneberger way Eimsbütteler Street, Altona Road, Little Schäferkampstraße and Schröderstiftstraße
Eastern boundary: Karolinenstraße, Glacischaussee, Helgoland Avenue
Southern boundary: Norderelbe
Western boundary: Max-Brauer-Allee and then along the tracks of the Deutsche Bahn
There has been a long standing hot issue in Hamburg which has been; What to do with the Rote Flora Theater? The theater, first named Tivoli-Theater and soon changed to Concerthaus Flora, was built in the 1800s as a host to concerts, operas, and theater performance. During the Second World War, the theater was closed and then reopened as a cinema and then as a department store. In 1988, after the department store has closed, there were plans to tear down the building and turn it into a new musical theater. There was strong opposition to this plan and protests stopped construction and investors pulled out. The building was then leased out in 1989 and became the Rote Flora it is today. Since this time it has been a cultural and left wing political meeting point.