Extremists threaten attacks on Berlin tourists

Left-wing extremists have threatened to target tourists visiting Berlin next year in protest over the “gentrification” of the city

21 Dec 2010

An article published in Interim, a radical, left-wing publication, urged extremists to engage in petty crime against tourists such as “swiping” their wallets and mobile phones, and attacking hotels and tourist buses in order to disrupt the German capital’s tourist trade.

Berlin has become one of Europe’s leading destinations and last year attracted a record 8.3 million visitors, according to Visit Berlin, the city’s tourism organisation, and tourists have become a rich source of income.

But protesters say tourism fuels the process of “gentrification” of poorer areas of the city that forces residents out of their homes to distant suburbs.

Burkhard Kieker, chief executive of Visit Berlin, said security experts had told him Interim had “great influence on the militant scene and therefore the proposed campaign must be taken seriously.”

Intelligence services in North Rhine Westphalia described Interim as the “formative voice of the militant scene”, and an issue that contained bomb-making instructions once led to police raids on left-wing book shops selling the magazine.

The tourism sector is seen as sensitive to the threat of attacks with a recent terrorism scare in Germany reducing the numbers of people attending traditional Christmas markets.

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