• Germany's news in English
Far-right thugs injure 44 officers in Cologne clash
Police used water cannon against the demonstrators. Photo: DPA

Far-right thugs injure 44 officers in Cologne clash

DPA/The Local · 27 Oct 2014, 09:50

Published: 27 Oct 2014 08:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 27 Oct 2014 09:50 GMT+01:00

Police said that 17 people were arrested during the course of the day, while 45 were injured - 44 of them police officers.

Organizers had originally given notice of a 1,500-strong protest march against Islamic fundamentalism to the police under the banner of the group “Hooligans against Salafists”.

But more than 4,000 people showed up, some having travelled hundreds of kilometres to be there and many of them looking for a fight.

As they arrived at the central station, shouts of “foreigners out” could already be heard.

GALLERY: Police battle thugs in Cologne

After gathering at Breslauer Platz at around 3pm, the marchers began letting off pyrotechnics in the direction of police and throwing bottles and stones.

“Demonstrators attacked the police in massive numbers,” a spokesman said. “We used pepper spray, truncheons and water cannon to get the situation under control quickly.”

Police had to deploy around 1,000 officers to contain the hooligans, many of whom had been drinking heavily.

Violence broke out again later at the central station, which had been locked down by police, as the demonstrators attempted to break back in.

They threw chairs and bicycles at the officers and overturned a police van. The police responded again with water cannon.

Once the violence had been calmed, officers escorted the hooligans in small groups through the station to their trains to get them out of the city, although there were continuing small scuffles.

“There was a very high potential for violence,” the police spokesman said, “and a very aggressive feeling towards the police.”

"The police plan worked," North Rhine-Westphalia interior minister Ralf Jäger told broadcaster ZDF on Monday morning. "The demonstration was cancelled by the organizers. But the participants refused to leave the area."

North Rhine-Westphalia Police Union (GdP) president Arnold Plickert said that the anti-Islamic group threatened to bring “a new kind of violence” to Germany's streets if its numbers continued to grow which the police might not be able to control.

Head of the North Rhine-Westphalia Office for Constitutional Protection (Verfassungsschutz) Burkhard Freier told Westdeutsche Rundfunk that the demonstrators "consisted of different groups, hooligans up for a fight, with crossover into the right-wing scene... NPD, the Right Party, but also skinheads and the [far-right] music scene."

The demonstration had brought together hooligan groups which more usually fight one another but had found common cause in their hatred of Islamic extremists, Freier said.

Just a few weeks ago “Hooligans against Salafists” were only able to gather a few dozen supporters at demonstrations in Mannheim and Essen.

Story continues below…

But in early October, 300 gathered in Dortmund after the ranks were swelled thanks to recruitment on social networks.

By Monday morning the group's Facebook page, which had been a focus for its organizing, had been removed.

The group has combined with far-right organizations such as North Rhine Westphalia anti-Islamic party Pro NRW, which gave the police notice of the demonstration on Sunday.

Pro NRW is under surveillance by the security services.

A counter-demonstration by around 500 people who gathered at the station before marching to Friesenplatz passed off peacefully.

SEE ALSO: Refugees beaten up in Hamburg

For more news from Germany, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

DPA/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Five sure-fire ways to impress Germans with your manners
Chancellor Angela Merkel showing up French President François Hollande in a neighbourly battle of table manners. Photo: DPA.

Despite what stereotypes might have you believe, Germans aren't that different from the rest of us when it comes to social interactions. But these tips should at least help guide you through the minor quirks that come with your next dinner invitation.

Thugs' ‘dream cop’ in court for not investigating 100 cases
Fans at a VfL Bochum match set off flares. Photo: DPA

For three years a police officer in western Germany simply ignored many of the cases he was supposed to investigate. His trial started on Tuesday in Bochum.

Police arrest suspect in murder of Chinese student
Police secure the crime scene where Yanjie Lie's body was found on May 13th. Photo: DPA

Police have made an arrest in the case of a Chinese student murdered while she was out jogging a week ago, media reported on Tuesday.

Berlin thief shows heart in surprising act of kindness
Photo: DPA

Pickpockets are an ever more common phenomenon in the German capital. But sometimes they can surprise you.

Bayer's Monsanto bid
Monsanto takeover would be 'diabolical': environmentalists
An anti-Monsanto activist at a protest in Brandenburg in 2014. Photo: DPA

A proposed tie-up between Bayer and Monsanto has inflamed opinion in Germany where most people oppose genetically modified foods.

Why Greece is top of Germany's to-do list - again
Unemployed Greek workers with symbolically chained hands march on May 1st in Athens. Photo: DPA

Greece has been in the headlines more often this year for its front-line role in the refugee crisis than its finances – so just why is it top of Germany's agenda again all of a sudden?

Far-right AfD turns on itself over failed Muslim meeting
Jörg Meuthen. Photo: DPA

The co-leader of the far-right Alternative for Germany party has criticized his party colleagues after talks with Muslim leaders collapsed after just an hour on Monday.

Here's why Munich is worth 20 times more than Berlin
BMW's headquarters in Munich. Photo: DPA

The Bavarian capital leaves other German cities in the dust when it comes to where the highest-valued companies choose to plant their flag.

Bavaria tries to coax migrants into police force
Joachim Herrmann (cr) with police recruits in Nuremberg. Photo: DPA

Bavaria’s interior ministry has started a campaign to encourage more migrants to join up as officers of the law - whether they have a German passport or not.

Extremist violence 'exploded' in record year for refugees
Left-wing violence at the Blockupy protest in Frankfurt in March 2015. Photo: DPA.

It is now official: 2015 smashed all records for political violence, as the far right attacked refugee homes and the far left responded by attacking them in turn, Interior Ministry figures show.

Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
6 things about Munich that will stay with you forever
Church plans to connect with faithful at Wi-Fi 'Godspots'
Online hate speech can cost users thousands of Euros
Bavarians in rush for non-lethal weapons licenses
Here's Germany's Mannschaft for Euro 2016
The Syrian pianist playing his way into Germans' hearts
The parrot who flew fast enough to trigger a speed camera
Business & Money
Surprise results give Germany strongest growth in two years
New law could let free Wi-Fi bloom across Germany
Berlin's plans to beef up the German army
The bloody knife attack that shocked a Bavarian town
Supermarkets must pay massive fine for fixing beer prices
Lufthansa's Euro 2016 ad takes aim at England
The 6 German words you need to know for spring
6 weird and wonderful ways Germans celebrate May 1st
Feast your eyes on Germany in springtime bloom
4/20: Five things to know about weed in Germany
Police break up hipster swarm at vegan restaurant opening
Merkel allows Erdogan case against German satirist to go ahead
7 of Germany's most jaw-dropping national parks
Gay penguins move to Hamburg to settle down
Business & Money
See-through €5 coin has collectors lining up
Vegan hemp powder recalled over fear toddlers getting high
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd