1. May in Berlin
The first of May is always chaos in Berlin. Police get flown in from all parts of Germany to try and control it, but historically this has only ever antagonised this city of wild children. The punks and rebels dressed in black provoke the police, bottles get thrown, police get heavy, the party kids hang just out of the way of the wandering demonstrations, all the while playing music and drinking from make shift drink stands which pop up on every corner. And who can blame them, it is a really fun day as long as you stay out of trouble (or not… if that’s what you’re into) and the weather was beautiful.
As I live in the centre of Kreuzberg, the beating heart of mayhem, it was important for me to get back home before dark. Normally, I don’t have a curfew, especially not one that begins with nightfall. But on this day it’s important as the demonstrators will battle wills, as they do every year, against the police and if I get caught on the wrong side of that picket line chances are strong that I will either get pepper sprayed in the face or I won’t be able to get home. That point was driven home for me as after I got home I looked out of my window to see a battle line of police and furiously barking dogs, refusing to let anyone pass down my street.