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Berlin's oldest squatters take a stand for their social club

Published on Aug 4, 2012 10:06 PM

BERLIN (AFP) - Some of Berlin's most senior squatters are nearly a century old, but age is not stopping the scrappy bunch from fighting impending eviction from their cherished social club.

The cash-strapped authorities in the former communist eastern district of Pankow have said they need to cut around five million euros (S$7.6 million) from their budget and plan to close public facilities to do so.

Among the sites hit is a villa on Stille Strasse, the home of despised Stasi secret police chief Erich Mielke in the 1950s and now a beloved gathering place for some 300 pensioners to play chess, learn English, dance and socialise.

The stately old place is surrounded by mature trees and, most recently, draped with banners reading "Hands off!" and "This house is occupied".

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