Police in full riot gear clashed with over 100 protesters as they enforced an eviction of one of Berlin's most iconic hangouts for left-wing activists, as witnessed by an epa photographer at the scene.
Sporting tactical helmets with face shields, police officers grappled some 150 demonstrators staging a sit-in at the "Friedel 54," one of the German capital's best-known squats whose eviction was recently ordered by a court after the building was acquired by a Luxembourgese company.
"The social center #Friedel54 has now been handed over to the court marshal," the city's police said on Twitter once the building had been emptied of occupants.
Officers could be seen in the images supplied by epa forcibly lifting the activists one by one and leading them away, including a man in a wheelchair who was pushed away to clear access to the center's entrance.
Protesters had barricaded the doors with cement and allegedly electrified a doorknob, according to the police, who alongside a picture tweeted: "Mortal danger for our colleague. This doorknob at #Friedel54 was electrified. Fortunately, we tested it beforehand."
The city-state of Berlin _ once a haven for squatters and people seeking affordable housing _ is currently undergoing a real estate boom and attracting foreign investors and developers, especially in "hip" districts such as Prenzlauer Berg, Friedrichshain and Neukölln, where the evicted building is located.
This has fueled the ire of many locals, who feel the city's center is being overrun by the powerful forces of gentrification, pushing out low-rent tenants, migrants and youth in favor of luxury properties that are unaffordable for the majority of the population.