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CRIME

Police ‘shocked’ by violence as youth riot at small town fair

Authorities in the town of Schorndorf in Baden-Württemberg have expressed shock after police and bystanders were attacked by members of a group of around 1,000 youths.

Police 'shocked' by violence as youth riot at small town fair
Schorndorf. Photo: DPA

Police report that a group of around 1,000 teenagers and young men gathered on Saturday evening in the grounds of Schorndorf Castle, as the small town celebrated the second day of its week-long town fair. According to police, a large portion of the group had immigrant backgrounds.

From within the group, beer bottles were thrown at the walls of the castle, at other festival-goers, and eventually at police officers.

“The violence faced by police was shocking,” a police spokesperson said, adding that while it was normal for large numbers of youth to gather at the festival, the aggression was new.

When officers tried to arrest one suspect on suspicion of causing serious bodily harm, the situation escalated, with many people getting involved to try to hinder the arrest.

Police then called for backup. More officers arrived at the scene in riot gear, “to shield the arrest and to prevent an attack.” As officers withdrew from the scene, they were again attacked with bottles.

Eventually police called in support from nearby towns to counteract what they described as “massive potential for violence.”

Throughout the night, groups of between 30 to 50 young men were seen acting aggressively in the medieval town centre. Eyewitnesses reported seeing people armed with knives, while one man was said to have fired a shot from a blank-firing gun.

Police reported damage to three of their vehicles, one with graffiti and another that was damaged after being hit by bottles.

Three incidents of sexual assaults against women were also reported on Friday evening, while one was reported on Saturday.

An Iraqi man was being investigated in connection with one of the assaults on Friday. After a 17-year-old reported being held against her will and then groped on her backside on Saturday, three Afghani men were also being investigated for the crime.

Police chief Roland Eisele urged other women to come forward if they were abused on Friday or Saturday night during the chaotic scenes.

Eisele said “the aggression and escalation of violence” were unprecedented and unexpected in the town of about 40,000 people, located near Stuttgart.

In a press conference on Monday, Eisele evoked the chaos of Cologne's infamous 2015 New Year's Eve celebrations when men of North African and Middle Eastern appearance groped and assaulted hundreds of women, sparking widespread public outrage.

He stressed that the rowdy scenes in Schorndorf were less intense than those in Cologne or the riots in the northern port-city of Hamburg before and during the July 7th-8th Group of 20 summit, when far-left and anarchist militants burnt street barricades and threw rocks from rooftops.

Correction: This article originally stated that arrests had been made in connection with the sexual assaults. Four men are being investigated, but police have not confirmed any arrests.

CRIME

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

A 50-year-old German man was jailed for life Tuesday for shooting dead a petrol station cashier because he was angry about being told to wear a mask while buying beer.

German man jailed for killing petrol station worker in mask row

The September 2021 murder in the western town of Idar-Oberstein shocked Germany, which saw a vocal anti-mask and anti-vaccine movement emerge in response to the government’s coronavirus restrictions.

The row started when 20-year-old student worker Alex W. asked the man to put on a mask inside the shop, as required in all German stores at the time.

After a brief argument, the man left.

The perpetrator – identified only as Mario N. – returned about an hour and a half later, this time wearing a mask. But as he bought his six-pack of beer to the till, he took off his mask and another argument ensued.

He then pulled out a revolver and shot the cashier in the head point-blank.

On Tuesday, the district court in Bad-Kreuznach convicted Mario N. of murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, and handed him a life sentence.

READ ALSO: Shock in Germany after cashier shot dead in Covid mask row

Under German law, people given a life sentence can usually seek parole after 15 years. His defence team had sought a sentence of manslaughter, rather than murder.

At the start of the trial, prosecutor Nicole Frohn told how Mario N. had felt increasingly angry about the measures imposed to curb the pandemic, seeing them as an infringement on his rights.

“Since he knew he couldn’t reach the politicians responsible, he decided to kill him (Alex W.),” she said.

Mario N. turned himself in to police the day after the shooting.

German has relaxed most of its coronavirus rules, although masks are still required in some settings, such as public transport.

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