Hunger strike on Oranienplatz, Berlin: would-be refugee Napuli is still in the plane tree

Napuli in the plane tree at Oranienplatz

BERLIN: The situation is almost surreal. On the cleared Oranienplaz in Kreuzberg sits would-be migrant Napuli Langa, calling out unintelligibly.

She is wearing a floral bedspread and has been on a hunger strike since Wednesday. The fire department was called four times on Wednesday to bring her water.

“She has refused every offer,” a fire brigade spokesman said.

On Thursday morning, the police ordered an ambulance be sent. “She has been classified as harmless,” said a police spokesman.

Napuli with an activist. There are 70 to 80 activists involved here.

A plastic water bottle brought to her is dangling on a long rope from a tree branch.

“We see no reason to force the woman out of the tree against her will,” said the spokesman. That will be considered only if the situation deteriorates.

More refugees on hunger strike

Police have placed gym mats below the tree to minimize harm to the woman if she falls or jumps

On the north side of the Oranienplatz, several refugees and activists are on hunger strikes, with a banner reading “Refugee Hunger Strike.”

They are protesting because they say their demands have not been met.

They want a meeting and a tent suitable for living in for those refugees who have not yet received permanent accommodation.

The police have registered it as a “vigil.”

“We know nothing of a hunger strike,” said a police spokesman.

Riot police are stationed around the square. Setting up a another tent has been prohibited by the district office.

The Oranienplatz has been fenced off and rubbish removal has begun. It will be restored as green space.

Now Napuli has fallen silent and has wrapped herself in the blanket.

She does not react to questions from police or reporters.

Napuli Langa has clashed with the police in January: in an escalation between refugees and BVG [transport] employees during ticket inspections on the subway the police allege that she bit an officer.

These four men on the north side of Oranienplatz say they are on a hunger strike.

The police are prepared for lengthy encounter. They have placed gym mats on the ground around the tree in case she falls.

(In German, but there are lots of pictures.)