May 1st rallies lead to violence by left and right
The annual protests on May 1st International Workers' Day again brought thousands to the streets across Germany, with both left- and right-wing demos involving clashes with police.
In Berlin, a left-wing demonstration called the “Revolutionary May 1st Demonstration” brought around 8,000 people to the streets. Participants threw bottles as well as firecrackers and fireworks into the crowd, while others insulted and attacked police with flagstaffs, injuring some officers. Several dozen demonstrators were arrested.
Tagesspiegel reported that black bloc-style protesters in dark clothing with hoods were also among the demo participants. The demonstration had not been registered with authorities ahead of time, as is typically required, but police nevertheless tolerated this.
Overall, the protests were described as being mostly peaceful by local media such as Tagesspiegel, and police said they were “very happy” with how the day went. The size of the demonstration was also much smaller this year compared to last year when more than 10,000 people took part.
This year also marked 30 years since May 1st demonstrations in 1987 culminated in protesters barricading themselves inside an area of Berlin’s Kreuzberg neighbourhood for hours.
Since then, protests have tended to be comparatively less extreme, and the area where the barricade was built now is primarily used during May 1st as a street party spot with music and drinking.
In Hamburg, about 2,500 people took part in a “revolutionary” left-wing extremist rally, which started off as peaceful and later involved some clashes with officers. Police reported that six officers were injured in total amid various demonstrations on Monday, and one officer needed to be treated in hospital.
Meanwhile in Halle, Saxony-Anhalt, a demonstration involving 500 right-wing extremists took place, with a counter protest of several thousand others. Five police officers were injured as conflicts arose among counter-protesters and police. Officers used pepper spray and batons against protesters, according to broadcaster N-tv. The exact number of protesters injured was not known.
About 100 to 150 right-wing protesters also gathered in Apolda, Thuringia, and police there were then attacked with stones and fireworks. Around 100 people were temporarily detained.