Olive Duran is a Berlin-based stylist and activist originally from Washington DC to German and Kenyan parents. She is actively involved in the organising of anti-racist protests in Berlin. Carys Huws is a freelance photographer and self-shooting writer/director and content editor from Wales, based in Berlin. Together they set out to Berlin's largest protest on the weekend of June 6. They captured the voices, feelings and community behind the numbers, highlighting the issues of racism in Berlin.
Olive Duran "Making this film has been an incredible experience to meet so many young black students and creatives here in Berlin that came together to voice themselves at Berlins biggest BLM protest. There was a feeling of hope and unity; as a community, it can be tough to keep momentum on such heavy topics that most non-POC's will be able to understand. There was unexplainable energy at this protest; with the power of my fellow community members, I'm confident we're moving in the right direction one step at a time."
Carys Huws "Documenting this global moment in time was important and I was grateful to have the opportunity to collaborate with Olive to document the voices on the ground in our city. On the day of this protest, Germany's far right organised counter-protests in different locations around Berlin in an effort to intimidate. Luckily the incredible turnout for the Black Lives Matter protest, one of Berlin's biggest protests to date as of recently, drowned out any noise of their efforts, but knowing that this was happening in the same city at the same time was worrying. What is not seen in our video is the police violence against non-white protesters at the other side of the protest, which was documented on phones and shared on social media by protest-goers. Germany has recently seen a sharp rise in far right attacks: earlier this year nine innocent lives were taken in a right wing terrorist attack in Hanau. Since the protest, Germany's police force has come under fire since police officers were found to be participating in far-right messaging groups, sharing racist messages. In Neukölln - one of Berlin's most culturally rich and diverse areas, a Syrian bakery and a Lebanese-owned restaurant were recently targeted by far right extremists and burnt to the ground. There are many other incidents to talk about and this highlights the reality with regards to racism in this country and how much work there is to be done to tackle the far-right. "
One of the largest protests outside the US took place in Berlin on the weekend of June 6, drawing tens of thousands of anti-racism activists and allies, who wore slogans such as “I can’t breathe” and held a silence lasting eight minutes and 46 seconds in memory of George Floyd’s death in police custody. These protesters also called out racism in their home country however, holding placards that read “Germany is not innocent” and chanting: “Nazis out!”
Simultaneously, other protests took place in multiple cities across Germany, such as Munich and Hamburg, which also saw crowds of tens of thousands of people.
In 2017, a United Nations report put a spotlight on racial profiling against people of African descent in Germany, describing an “incomplete understanding of history” in the country, and stating: “The repeated denial that racial profiling does not exist in Germany by police authorities and the lack of an independent complaint mechanism at federal and state level fosters impunity.”
Even since the UN report was released, the number of reported racial discrimination cases has risen, reportedly going up by 59% between 2016 and 2019 (a rise that correlates with the rise of the right-wing AfD party).
Far-right figures and neo-Nazis have also staged their own marches and demonstrations in the country in the recent past (though these haven’t gone without opposition from many residents), and Saxony’s intelligence services estimated that there were over 23,000 right-wing extremists in Germany in 2016, according to the BBC.
Executive Producer @annagranola
Head of Content @popdujour
Camera Operator and Editor @caryshuws
Second Camera @daantjedamage
Drone Footage @tomweasley
Additional Camera @clecledontplayplay
Colour Grade @delfinamayer_colorgrading
Sound Recordist @agostinacerdan
Music: Intranet by Yung Kartz
Equipment Rental @delightrent