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CRIME

Hamburg street festival ends with riot

Anarchists from Hamburg’s autonomous scene battled police for six hours late Saturday and early Sunday in the trendy Schanzenviertel neighbourhood after a street fair. At least 67 rioters were arrested and 27 police officers injured.

Hamburg street festival ends with riot
Photo: DPA

Over 10,000 visitors visited the Schanzenfest street fair, but once it turned dark, over 1,000 young, masked anarchists came out to do battle, police said. The rioters threw bottles, stones and fireworks at police.

“The fusillade was extremely massive,” police spokesman Ralf Meyer told the daily Hamburger Abendblatt, who said the anarchists were more aggressive than in past years. For years, the Schanzenfest has often concluded with clashes between police and the left-wing, anti-fascist Autonomen, or “Black Bloc.”

Over 1,800 police officers were on duty at the event and deployed water cannons and riot sticks against the rioters. Many of the rioters were injured, though no specific numbers were available.

One police vehicle was torched by rioters, who also ignited trash cans and street barriers. Two of the arrested rioters traveled to Hamburg from Berlin to take part. They were taken into custody after pulling out a backpack that contained a timing device that looked like it could set off explosives.

Police around Germany have warned in recent months that the ultra-left-wing anarchist scene appears to be becoming more violent. On June 21, thousands of anarchists tried to forcibly occupy Berlin’s Tempelhof airport. Police said rioters at this year’s annual May 1 riots in Berlin used Molotov cocktails against police, an escalation from recent years.

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POLITICS

EU ministers urge unity after Germany’s energy ‘bazooka’

EU finance ministers on Monday pleaded for unity after Germany announced a €200 billion plan to help German households and businesses pay for high energy prices, amid accusations that the EU's biggest economy was acting alone.

EU ministers urge unity after Germany's energy 'bazooka'

Europe is struggling with historically high energy prices as it faces an early autumn cold snap and a coming winter almost certainly to be endured without crucial Russian gas supplies because of the war in Ukraine.

Many EU countries have announced national programmes to shield consumers from the high prices. But Germany went the furthest on Friday when it announced its mammoth plan, which will see help pouring to Germans for two years.

Arriving to talk with his eurozone counterparts, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner insisted the spending was “proportionate” to the size of Germany’s economy and said his goal was to use as little of the money as possible.

READ ALSO: Germany to spend €200 billion to cap soaring energy costs

But Germany’s largesse rankled several EU capitals, some of which feared their industries could take severe blows while Germany’s sits protected, deforming the EU’s single market.

Outgoing Italian prime minister Mario Draghi has slammed Berlin for its lack of solidarity and coordination with EU partners.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, without directly criticizing Berlin, called on partners to agree a common strategy against the price shock and for countries to refrain from going it alone.

“The more this strategy is coordinated, united, the better it is for all of us,” he said.

Risk to ‘European unity’

Others pointed to the unprecedented solidarity shown in the Covid-19 crisis in which the 27 EU nations, against all expectations, approved a jointly financed €750 billion recovery plan.

“Solidarity is not only on the German shoulders, I think this is something that we have to deliver at European level,” said EU economics affairs commissioner Paolo Gentiloni.

“We have very good examples from the previous crisis on how solidarity can react to a crisis and also reassure financial markets. I think that this is our goal,” he said.

While a Covid-style recovery plan is not in the cards for now, Le Maire said €200 billion in loans and €20 billion in aid should be devoted to REPowerEU, a programme to help countries break their dependence on Russian gas.

READ ALSO: Will Germany set a gas price cap – and how would it work?

Bruegel, a highly influential think tank in Brussels, called the German plan a spending “bazooka” that many EU countries were unable to match, creating a potential source of animosity.

“If the German gas price brake gives German business a much better chance to survive the crisis than, say, Italian business, economic divergences in the EU could be deepened, and European unity on Russia undermined,” it said in a blog.

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