Berlin: vandalism of museum artefacts ‘linked to conspiracy theorists’

At least 70 artworks and ancient artefacts across three galleries on Berlin’s museum island were vandalised with an oily substance earlier this month, German media has reported.

Objects including Egyptian sarcophagi, stone sculptures and 19th-century paintings held at the Pergamon Museum, the Alte Nationalgalerie and the Neues Museum sustained visible damage during the attack on 3 October, according to reports in the weekly Die Zeit and broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday.

News of the attack was kept from the public for more than two weeks.

The Prussian Heritage Foundation, which oversees the museum island collections, reportedly confirmed that objects in the exhibitions had sustained damage. Police in the German capital said they had launched an investigation but would not comment on a motive behind the attack.

In 2018 two women were arrested in the Greek capital, Athens, after smearing museum exhibits at the National Museum of History with an oily substance. The two women, later identified as being of Bulgarian origin, told police they were spraying the artworks with oil and myrrh “because the Holy Scripture says it is miraculous”.

But German media have linked the museum island attack to conspiracy theories pushed through social media channels by prominent coronavirus deniers in recent months.

One such theory claims that the Pergamon Museum is the centre of the “global satanism scene” because it holds a reconstruction of the ancient Greek Pergamon Altar.

Attila Hildmann, a former vegan celebrity chef who has become one of Germany’s best-known proponents of the baseless QAnon conspiracy theory, posted messages on Telegram in August and September in which he suggested that the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, was using the altar for “human sacrifices”.

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Vandalism Is Violence: Destructive Riots Are Not ‘Just Property Damage’

Well, many left-wing journalists, activists, and commentators who are politically sympathetic to the rioters have argued that rampant destruction isn’t really a problem, because it’s “just” destruction of property, not violence against people.

One person who makes this argument is Oakland-based “racial justice organizer” Cat Brooks, who was interviewed by the New York Times.

“I don’t consider property destruction violence,” Brooks said in defense of the rioting and vandalism in her city. “Violence is when you attack a person or another living, breathing creature on this planet. Windows don’t cry and they can’t die.”

Meanwhile, New York Times writer Hannah Nicole-Jones, founder of the controversial “1619 Project,” has also defended the destruction of property and argued that it doesn’t constitute violence.

“Violence is when an agent of the state kneels on a man’s neck until all of the life is leached out of his body,” she said. “Destroying property, which can be replaced, is not violence. To use the same language to describe those two things is not moral.”

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Black Lives Matter protesters vandalize Oakland mayor’s home; she accuses them of terrorism

The Democratic mayor of Oakland, California, accused vandals who left Black Lives Matter messages spray painted at her home of trying to “terrorize” her and her family.POLL: Do you think the 2020 presidential debates are still going to happen?

The incident occurred early Tuesday morning outside Mayor Libby Schaaf’s house.

Witnesses say that 30 to 40 protesters dressed in black fired off projectiles and firecrackers during the vandalism. They spray-painted messages on the mayor’s stone wall, sidewalk and garage, including “Defund OPD,” “homes 4 all,” and “blood on your hands.”

neighbor of the mayor told KGO-TV, “I know there’s a lot of unrest and frustration and I sympathize with that, but this was jarring and felt like to another level.”

A spokesperson for Schaaf released a statement condemning the vandalism.

“This attack designed to intimidate the Mayor and strike fear into her family, will not stop her from advocating for the policies she believes are in the best long-term interests of her beloved hometown,” said Justin Berton.

“Like all Oaklanders, she supports passionate protest but does not support tactics meant to harm and terrorize others,” the statement concluded.

‘A wake up call to Libby’

The Sacramento Bee reported that a post at the San Francisco Independent Media Center’s website contained a message from someone claiming responsibility for the vandalism.

“Last night we sent a wake up call to Libby and a call for action to the whole Bay Area. We left a note on her garage, and treated her to a nice fireworks display and the musical notes of pots and pans and assorted noisemakers,” read the message.

“Our message to Libby and other elected officials is simple: You have the power to take the boot off our necks — so we have the duty to struggle against you until that boot is lifted,” they added. “You can’t hide from your responsibility!”

The message included four demands from the group. They called for the defunding of the Oakland Police Department, cancellation of rent, “Homes for All,” and “Drop the Charges,” without elaborating.

Police are investigating the vandalism.

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