[image credit: Citylab.com]
Neo-nazi groups paint swastikas on the streets of Berlin
As over 1 million refugees have flowed into the country from the Middle East, neo-Nazi and far-right groups have redoubled their presence, leaving anti-immigrant stickers plastered on walls. According to The Verge, politically-motivated crimes in Germany increased by 40 percent in 2015. “People are manipulated by fear,” Tschirch says. “They fear the unknown and they fear that someone could possibly take something away from them.”
Solution: Local activists convert them into street art
Since launching Berlin #PaintBack earlier this year, Omari and his fellow organizers have covered up at least 20 swastikas across Berlin, leaving an array of whimsical street art where symbols of hate were once visible. #PaintBack has morphed swastikas into a flower, a fly being chased by a net, and a cat sitting in a window.
Friends began to alert Omari and his fellow #PaintBack organizers whenever they saw a swastika. Through social media, word of #Paintback’s work spread across Berlin and other parts of Germany. “We are very happy that there are quite a few imitators,” Tschirch says.
- Citylab.com | Transforming Neo-Nazi Graffiti Into Whimsical Street Art