Police clear protesters from Berlin theatre

2017-09-28 17:21
Berlin police arrive at the Volksbuhne theatre to arrest activists. (Maurizio Gambarini, DPA, AFP)

Berlin police arrive at the Volksbuhne theatre to arrest activists. (Maurizio Gambarini, DPA, AFP)

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Berlin - German police on Thursday removed protesters who had been occupying Berlin's legendary Volksbuehne theatre over a dispute surrounding its new director.

Protesters had occupied the site to express their concerns about new artistic director Chris Dercon, the former head of London's Tate Modern, whom they fear will lead the radical theatre towards a more commercial direction.

Clear space

The protest at the building in east Berlin began on Friday and by the weekend, the crowd had swelled to the theatre's maximum capacity of 500.

Berlin police on Thursday deployed 200 officers to clear the space.

"There are now no longer any unauthorised people in the Volksbuehne. We accompanied 21 people out of there, five of them were carried out," police said.

Volksbuehne artists have been strongly critical of Dercon, who replaced the renowned Frank Castorf who led the avant-garde theatre for almost a quarter of a century.

Rebuilt after World War II in an imposing Stalinist style using remnants of Hitler's destroyed chancellery, the Volksbuehne prides itself on caustic commentary on political and capitalist hypocrisy.

Fabled theatre

A prominent theatre director as well as artistic director, Castorf was credited with turning the Volksbuehne into one of Europe's leading venues with his bold, controversial and often lengthy productions.

Dercon, whose nomination has been controversial ever since it was announced in 2015, will be the first non-artist to take the helm of the fabled theatre.

Read more on:    germany

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