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Police clash with protestors at May Day rallies across Germany

Police clash with protestors at May Day rallies across Germany

Police clash with protestors at May Day rallies across Germany

Police across Germany were called into action on Saturday, as thousands of protestors took to the streets for International Workers’ Day. Clashes between police and the public were reported in Berlin, Frankfurt and Hamburg.

International Workers Day in Berlin

Saturday, May 1 marked International Workers’ Day, or May Day, in Germany. Over 20 rallies were scheduled to take place in Berlin this year, with the typical left-wing rallies running alongside several right-wing demonstrations protesting the country’s coronavirus restrictions. Due to the violent history of Labour Day in Berlin, the police deployed around 5.600 officers from nine different federal states to try and keep the peace in the streets of the German capital.

Protestors were asked to comply with social distancing regulations and wear facemasks, however, unlike last year, there was no limit to the number of people allowed to gather in public. Police issued several notices and fines throughout the day to people who were in breach of coronavirus restrictions or not wearing masks.

Violence on the streets of Berlin

Police were called into action after a demonstration in the Neukölln district turned violent. Some of the 10.000 protestors present turned on police officers and threw stones and bottles, as well as setting rubbish bins and pallets on fire in the streets. Police officers responded by using pepper spray and the fire brigade was called in to extinguish the fires.

Police reported that the demonstration came to an end after the organiser was attacked by the crowd. According to Berlin’s State Ministry, 354 people were detained and at least 93 officers were injured by the time the protestors dispersed. Protestors have accused police of beating participants for no reason.

By midnight, the situation in Berlin had largely subsided, with a few small fires reported but no more major operations. Many people were still roaming the streets after the city’s 10 o’clock curfew and crowds continued to gather in Mauerpark.

Peaceful protests

Several protests took place without incident during the day in Berlin. Around 10.000 cyclists rode through the city’s Grunewald district to protest against rising rent prices and housing policy. A protest organised by the Querdenker or “lateral thinkers” group, aimed at demonstrating against the restrictions aimed at controlling the spread of the coronavirus, largely passed without incident, although several were cautioned and fined for not wearing masks.

May Day violence across Germany

Police were called into action in the cities of Frankfurt and Hamburg, to deal with several violent May Day protests. One demonstration in Frankfurt, aptly named “day of rage,” descended into violence, with police having to use a water cannon to disperse the protestors. Two protestors and several police officers were reported to have been injured in the clashes.

A water cannon was also used in Hamburg to disperse an unauthorised protest. Police also clashed with anarchists throughout the night.

William Nehra

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William Nehra

William studied a masters in Classics at the University of Amsterdam. He is a big fan of Ancient History and football, particularly his beloved Watford FC.

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