A Berlin Demonstration

Berlin -- Walking last Saturday evening from Kreuzberg to Neukölln along my usual route through Heinrich Platz, I ran into a formidable police presence preparing for a potential clash with marching demonstrators. I turned onto Oranienstrasse and was soon caught between a thousand or so marchers and two lines of police. Except for a few marchers who were determined to provoke the police, it was all peaceful. No store-fronts smashed; no right-wing nationalist trouble-makers.

The demonstrators were marching in sympathy with Berlin's small population of asylum-seekers, protesting the conditions they live in and the idea of a "fortress Europe" that looks away from the victims of war and circumstance in Africa and the Middle East. Or they were in search of a good time, a moving festival. It had been a long seven days since the noisy Christopher Street celebration in Kreuzberg. Any storm in a port.

As I was filming the scene with my little camera, a young woman departed the march and came running up to me with a big smile. At first it didn't register with me who she was; suddenly I recognized my daughter! Later in the evening we had dinner together under lindens in deepest Neukölln.