Drug dealers in Berlin are to be given designated spaces in a city centre park to carry out transactions, leading to criticism that authorities have capitulated to criminal gangs.
For years there has been a heated debate about Görlitzer Park, a popular meeting point in the trendy southern Berlin district of Kreuzberg, which has been attracting an ever increasing number of drug dealers. Local people said they were reluctant to let children and pets roam free there.
After repeated attempts by police to clear the dealers failed, the park manager declared areas where they should be allowed to operate, identified by spray-painted pink boxes.
Cengiz Demirci said the pink zones would mean that visitors to the park – known locally as Görli – were no longer intimidated by groups of dealers, typically men operating in gangs, who crowd the entrance.
“This method has purely practical reasoning behind it,” Demirci told local radio station RBB. “It’s not that we’re legalising the selling of drugs.”