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Kurdish gathering turns violent in Mannheim
Photo: DPA

Kurdish gathering turns violent in Mannheim

Published: 09 Sep 2012 09:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 Sep 2012 09:13 GMT+02:00

Around 80 police officers were injured and 31 people arrested in Mannheim on Saturday after an international gathering of about 40,000 Kurds erupted in violence triggered when a teenager was stopped with a banned flag.

Police stopped the 14-year-old at the entrance to cultural festival on the city’s Maimarkt because he was carrying a forbidden flag, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported on Sunday.

After security guards unsuccessfully tried to block him from entering the festival’s grounds, they called the police for backup.

Before long around 2,500 Kurds were in an hours-long stand-off with 600 police officers, the paper reported. The police spokesperson said the “outbreak of violence was enormous,” and added that he had never experienced something like it in his 30 years on the force.

Hundreds, “if not more than a thousand” people ran at the police, some throwing stones, water bottles, bricks and fireworks, a police spokesman told the paper.

The police used pepper spray and confiscated flags and T-shirts of banned organizations, along with four knives and a set of brass knuckle dusters.

The police spokesman said those being violent and rushing the police were supported by thousands of their fellow participants, and that they had “no chance” of calming the crowd. The area eventually cleared at around 8 pm.

The news outlet Tagesschau.de reported early indications that the violence could have been influenced by targeted propaganda, such as a rumours among the Kurdish participants that on Friday night police in Mannheim had mistreated a Kurdish demonstrator.

Various smaller incidents were reported during Friday as the Kurds gathered in Mannheim. Police stopped a march on Friday by a Kurdish youth group after some involved attacked Turkish-looking passersby.

One group waved a banned PKK flag and shouted slogans in support of the group banned and regarded by the authorities as terrorists.

Reinhold Gall, interior minister of the state of Baden-Württemberg said he was shocked by the incident, and that such events would have to be checked more closely before being allowed in the future, if they are allowed at all, Tagesschau reported.

DPA/DAPD/The Local/mbw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

10:45 September 9, 2012 by raandy
I suspect the authorities did expect trouble with a gathering of 40,000 Kurdish people, you would be obtuse to think otherwise. The police were overwhelmed by the degree of kaos, as one stated he had never seen this in his 30 years on the force.

Let this be a wake up call for the next gathering.
11:15 September 9, 2012 by smart2012
Kurds, Turkish, Germans. I thought there were no problems in Germany. The local, do u do it on purpose to publish articles supporting me just after a conversation on the topic happened the day before in the comment section? :)
11:45 September 9, 2012 by bwjijsdtd
Simple solution ... DEPORTATION ... for the 2,500 and a Thousand Euro fine to the others ... Nothing justifies attacking law enforcement officers ...
12:21 September 9, 2012 by simski
"such events would have to be checked more closely before being allowed in the future, if they are allowed at all"

Yeah, let's just throw out the constitution and forbid cultural festivals if people with weird skin colors are involved.
12:33 September 9, 2012 by raandy
simski you think Kurdish people have weird skin color?
12:52 September 9, 2012 by smart2012
Raandy, I hope Simski is making a joke. Otherwise he is an idiot.
14:54 September 9, 2012 by Zubair Khan
Sad to know, in its own motherland the deprived community resorted to aggression that too on police of the country which accommodated them respectfully. This reminds me annual gatherings of Ahamdiyya Muslim Community Germany. From 1995 to 2010 the Muslim Community each year organized its annual religious gathering known as Jalsa Salana in maimarktgelände. Due to shortage of space in 2011 the community moved to DM Arena Karlsruhe. In the Ahamdiyya gathering the participants always remained between 30 to 40 thousands from Europe and elsewhere. Never ever any such chaos or disturbance occurred. Neighbours, police and city administration always praised the community. Since Ahamdiyya Community is lead by a Khalifa (Spiritual Supreme Head) and each member of the community shows unconditional allegiance and obedience to the supreme head as such probably no chance for such chaos and confusion.
17:07 September 9, 2012 by Anonym
We Turks would be happy to take these PKK sympathisers from Germany and be nice to them.
12:57 September 11, 2012 by raandy
smart2012 I don't think it was a joke ;-)
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