Thousands of people have turned out again and again for demonstrations since the eviction of squatters from the "Bambule˛ site in Hamburgšs Karolinenviertel, where about 40 people had been living in converted construction vehicles. Initially, the protests were mainly in support of experiments in alternative living, such as squats or communes, which have come under increasing pressure from the Hamburg City Senate. Since then, however, the concerns of the demonstrators have broadened. They are no longer only concerned with evictions from squatted sites like "Bambule˛, but with the general political trend in Hamburg.

The protests are directed against policies aimed at confrontation and polarisation within society, as well as the exclusion of certain groups of people from the social mainstream. The "Bambule˛ case demonstrates that the coalition of CDU, FDP and the Schill Party is not interested in trying to reach a consensus with those concerned by their policies. The eviction of the squatters was intended solely as a demonstration by the Senate of its ability to enforce its law and order policies . Social policies are no longer applied in the interest of those in need of support and benefits. Instead, the claiming of social benefits is increasingly being labelled as an abuse of the system, and more and more people are coming under suspicion of illegally claiming benefits. At the same time, funds for social work and advice centres are being radically cut back, and many important institutions are facing imminent closure. <next page>