Berlin - An April Fool's joke? An ad by the police themselves or a broadside against the men and women in blue? Is it art or for the bin? Blue bins hanging around Kreuzberg have sparked a number of questions.
Unknown pranksters have spray-painted the bins and included the police logo and lettering. They were spotted at the beginning of April on Oranienstraße and Kottbusser Damm, and now there's one on Bergmannstraße.
“Maybe you can explain what it's all about,” a reader wrote to the Berliner Zeitung. “People on the street are wondering, but it's a bit funny ...”
We checked in with the Berlin police: “We're not behind it,” a spokesperson said. The bins appeared over the Easter holidays, and city sanitation firm BSR has since taken two of them down. No letter or statement has accompanied the action. The police are unsure whether to categorise the bins as an expression of opinion, an insult or property damage.
“We are considering legal action,” says BSR, which is replacing the blue cans with orange ones.
But who's behind it? Leftwing activists whose pub Meuterei in Reichenberger Straße was shut down last week? Or simply street artists having a lark?
One trail leads to the internet, to Rocco and his brothers: a collective of art activists who have already exchanged Berlin street signs harking back to German colonialism, installed Stolpersteine (the small brass squares naming Holocaust victims) outside an AfD office and played recordings talking about racism in the Mohrenstraße U-Bahn station. The anonymous artists recently posted pics of the blue bins on their Instagram page.
When asked, the collective confirmed they're behind the action: “I read somewhere that if you don't see your rubbish, you can't dispose of it,” said a member of the group, suggesting it's an action with with more than a little tongue in cheek. It's no April Fool's joke, though.