• Germany's news in English

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
Train evacuated as passenger flips out during ticket check
Police at the scene in Leipzig. Photo: DPA

A regional train was evacuated in Leipzig on Wednesday after a passenger became aggressive during a ticket inspection.

Man arrested in Wuppertal as part of Spanish Isis raids
Police detain the suspect in Wuppertal. Photo: DPA

Police have arrested five suspected members of an Isis cell in Spain, Belgium and Germany that spread propaganda for the group online, the Spanish interior ministry said Wednesday.

Germans cut home energy usage by six percent in a year
Hamburg at night. Photo: DPA

The Energiewende is the German government's ambitious policy of drastically reducing carbon emissions. New figures show one remarkable success.

Merkel party MP under fire for using Nazi propaganda term
Bettina Kudla. Photo: Büro Bettina Kudla MdB/DPA.

A member of Angela Merkel's conservative CDU party is in hot water after tweeting over the weekend a Nazi propaganda term in her criticism of the country’s refugee policies.

Govt denies planning bailout for troubled Deutsche Bank
Photo: DPA

Germany's finance ministry on Wednesday said the government was "not preparing rescue plans" for Deutsche Bank, denying a newspaper report that state aid was being considered for the embattled lender.

Munich at high risk of housing bubble: report
A view of Munich. Photo: Pexels.com

Considering buying property in Munich? This report might make you think twice.

After fatal hail storm, south Germany set to see sun
The hail storm in Baden-Württemberg on Monday night left the streets looking like a winter landscape. Photo: DPA.

A hail storm in southwest Germany on Monday night led to the death of one woman, but forecasters predict a bit more sun in the days to come.

Police shoot dead father who attacked daughter's abuser
Police at the scene of the shooting in Berlin. Photo: DPA.

Berlin police on Tuesday night shot and killed the father of a young girl at a refugee home as he tried to attack a man who allegedly sexually abused his daughter.

TV celebrity criticized for claiming 70 kg is overweight
Sophie Thomalla. Photo: DPA

Model Sophie Thomalla claimed that promoting models who weigh over 70 kg sets as dangerous an example as skinny supermodels.

UK files show how Spanish spy tricked Nazis over D-Day
Photo: DPA

Secret files released in Britain Wednesday shed new light on how a Spaniard dubbed the greatest double agent of World War II tricked Germany with false intelligence about the D-Day Normandy landings.

Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
Seven great reasons to stay in Germany this September
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
The Inner Circle: the secret to dating in Berlin
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd