Yesterday, I almost got arrested. But let me back up just a bit…

I basically spent this past weekend with friends in numerous dive bars and parks. We were doing our best to soak up the Berlin summer – despite it really chucking it down on Saturday – and make the most of each other’s company – especially since Betti and Banks had an out-of-town visitor for the weekend. And let me tell you, without getting into too much detail, after having some things not go the way I would have liked them to as of late, I was in dire need of a weekend with friends.

After spending the evening in the dive-iest dive of dive bars the night before, playing pool in a haze of smoke, and drinking dubious cocktails that never came out quite as ordered, we all decided to meet up at Mauerpark for a go through the markets and some delicious street food. Although originally on the hunt for a dining room and/or kitchen table as I have still yet to buy one, I opted for three vintage records and a little boy’s denim coat – which started out as a joke to see if I could actually fit into it, and ended up with my wallet being 15€ lighter after some persuasive sales techniques from a particularly enthusiastic market seller.

We settled down for some drinks in the garden, joked about the actual possibility that our entire friend circle consists of chain smokers and shot the shit for a bit. At the end of the evening, we all went our seperate ways, my friend Crav and I opting to head over to a VoKü at a house project in Friedrichshain. For those of you who do not know much about VoKü, let me give you the run-down:

Volxküche, also known as VoKü, Bevölkerungsküche (BeVokü) or Küche für alle (Küfa) is basically an initiative started in the left-leaning alternative scene which features regular meals at different locations which are served on a donation-basis. Many of these events also feature purely vegan options. Locations of Voküs are often found at house projects or other politically left-leaning locations, like Bars or autonomous centers.

The Vokü we happened to be at on Sunday night was located at a feminist transgender house project on a sreet where there has been growing political unrest between the police and the left scene for years. As of late, this particular location has been labeled a ‘Gefahrengebiet,’ or “Danger Zone” by authorities. Since August 2015, this location has been deemed a full of dangerous criminal activity allegedly instigated by the left scene – despite the fact that the housing project we visited actually got attacked by Neo Nazis not too long ago. Therefore, the police have been given extra special power within this location: those suspected of left-leaning politics are subject to having their papers taken, searched, and even detained without any other kind of explanation other than being within the “Danger Zone.” The police can be seen routinely controlling the area and have already stopped over 2000 individuals, 1577 of whom whose Names, birthdates, and official residences have been entered into the “Polizeilichen Landessystem zur Information, Kommunikation und Sachbearbeitung” (POLIKS) eerily similar to that of McCarthy’s in the 1950s. My friend and I are part of this growing number of individuals.

What did we do on Sunday night exactly? Well, we were sitting on the sidewalk eating a vegan meal prepared by leftists. As we were told by the police who stopped us, took our identification, wrote down our area of residence, and detained us for 20 minutes, eating on the sidewalk is “not normal behavior.” We were then told that based on our manner of dress it was clear that we were affiliated with violent leftists and if we showed our faces in the “Danger Zone” within 24 hours, we would be arrested.

So I am going to get just a wee bit political today on LFB, but seeing as I almost ended up in a prison cell, I think it’s entirely warranted. Now I am fully aware that there are other countries whose governments are much more despotic than Germany’s, but when two peaceful individuals who are are enjoying some delicious home-cooked vegan food are threatened with the prospect of being thrown into prison based on their appearance and political ties, something is very wrong with the world. Political ideals that seem dissident and exist outside of a system that promotes capitalism and gentrification are seen as the enemy.

We could have gotten up and walked straight back into the house project when the cops (all 12 of them with their big police wagon and squad car) started coming – as the rest of the people sitting outside did. But why? Why should we choose to let ourselves be intimidated for doing nothing other than believing that all individuals have the right to be treated fairly?

As mad as the situation made me, is has also emboldened me. It has made me more resolute in my quest for fighting for social justice. Right-wing extremists in Germany have been setting fire to refugee homes. British MP Jo Cox was murdered by a right-wing neo-Nazi who shouted “Britain First” before slaying the Labor Party politician. 49 people were murdered in cold blood in Orlando based on who they happened to love. Brock Turner was given a meagre six months in prison for raping an unconscious woman near a dumpster. These are the things we should be angry about. These are the things we should be fighting to change. And these are the things our governments should be concerned about. Not two well-meaning politically active artists eating a cruelty-free meal on a warm Sunday night in Berlin. Intimidation of this nature will not work, as it only draws more attention to a lopsided institution that promotes the vested interests of corporate capitalism and those in positions of privilege over the rights of the oppressed and voices of those trying to set things right.

Photography: Thommy White
Post-Processing: Rae Tashman

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Stay conscious, Rae

Rae Tilly

Rae the EIC of LFB and YEOJA Magazine. She is also a photographer and social media influencer.


  • Oh my gosh! Firstly, glad you’re okay. I’d had no idea this was happening in Berlin. We seriously are already living in some sort of dystopian society, by the sounds of it. Good on you for standing your ground. We need more people like you!

  • Elizabeth Hisle

    For the love of…. this crap is worldwide girl, as you have already pointed out, but I just can’t wrap my head around it this, in particular. Eating outside is a perfectly normal thing REGARDLESS of alternative styles or politics. However, I am really glad you shared your story, because the more we share the social injustices, there more we can fight them. Did you know Brock Turner’s judge has already been removed from another sexual assault case? I don’t say this lightly, but someone needs to be fired…

  • Sophie Athawes

    I’m so shocked! I honestly didn’t think Berlin was still like this? Has it not suffered enough hate over the years that it still feels the need to associate with stuff like this? I’m so surprised but also glad you’ve shared this. I’ve always wanted to move to Berlin but things like this are a bit of a con for me. I hope you’re OK – god help them if they ever come to London and see that people just eat anywhere they want haha xx

    Sophie Elizabeth

  • Sorry that this happened to you. You’re right and things in the world definetly need to change. It makes me mad and sad at the same time when I hear of stories like this are still happening . Thanks for sharing your story.

  • Carmen Jny (carmitive)

    Omg that’s awful – I had never thought that something like this would happen in Germany! It’s so crazy how people are judged by how they look or what they do in a certain moment. I was eating my lunch with my best friend on a doorstep as well. Now I know that this is “no normal behavior”. Well, I would still do it again :)
    This is a really inspiring post dear, great work!
    xx, Carmen –

  • Are you kidding me? This is so aggravating :( Cannot believe this actually took place. So sorry babe

    Enclothed Cognition

  • Sometimes the world can be a sad, scary place :( I’m sure so many people have had their voices silenced, and I’m glad that you have a space to tell your story here :) People need to know things!!

  • Oh my goodness that is so scary, I’m so sorry =(
    Corruption is just too real these days, it’s so sad.

  • Ugh wish you never had to live through that. It must have been such an uncomfortable environment that I couldn’t imagine happening in Berlin. Thank you for sharing your story xx

  • So sad this happened. Good thing you are ok. Thanks for sharing this story…
    – Cielo
    Mermaid in Heels

  • that’s so scary D; i’m glad you’re okay, rae! so sad that nowadays love of power overtook power of love. this is why we can’t have nice things in the world :(

  • sileas

    Wow what a terrible story! No wonder you got mad… Seriously there’s something wrong with this world. Thanks for raising awareness for such conditions!

  • A well-written post and I can’t believe something like this would happen! I hope you are okay now, and nothing else like this happens – the world is a miserable place right now…

    Pop over to my blog!


  • That’s so bizarre to me that the police can target a specific area and just decide that it’s a danger zone and that they’re going to monitor everyone who goes there?! I had no idea that sort of thing happened in Germany, and it seems completely pointless and like a waste of resources to me, aside from being grossly unfair. I couldn’t agree more that all of the recent tragedies you mentioned are immeasurably more important than taking down the names and details of two people who are in the “wrong place” at the wrong time and happened to come across police officers.

    Jessica –

  • Oh my god, what´s wrong with this world? What´s with this meaningless laws?
    A few days ago, I saw in a TV that one driver caused a car accident and he murdered a person. He left without giving him a first aid and he left his car also in the service, because he didn´t want to have any evidence of this accident on his car. Like WTF?! He got 5 years. FIVE years for murdering person, without giving him the first aid and also for trying to cover everything up … But one person, who stole a motorbike from someone, got TEN years. .. “Just” by stealing. Like seriously, what the hell is wrong with this rotten world we live in??!

    ♡ life lately ♡