‘Most peaceful in years’: no riots at Labour Day rallies across Germany

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‘Most peaceful in years’: no riots at Labour Day rallies across Germany
Demonstrators in Hamburg on May 1st, 2018. Photo: DPA

Protesters and revellers alike took to the streets of Deutschland on Tuesday. Despite a large police presence in some cities, the gatherings were largely peaceful.


With May 1st marking Labour Day in many countries across the globe, thousands of people gathered in Germany’s two largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg.

There were around 6,000 participants at a rally in the Brandenburg Gate area of the German capital, which is fewer than in previous years, according to the police. Around 2,200 people took part in Hamburg.

SEE ALSO: Why is May 1st a public holiday in Germany?

Several thousand officers were deployed in both cities as a precautionary measure.

"It was a great day," said a Berlin police spokesman, adding that there were significantly fewer crimes compared to last year and that the number of arrests was in the "low double-digit range".

One of the largest marches campaigning for workers' rights nationwide typically occurs on May 1st in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district. The last time serious riots occurred in the capital was in 2009 and in recent years, it has calmed down.

In Hamburg, despite some clashes between emergency services and demonstrators and some bottles being thrown at officers, there were no major riots on Tuesday. "We had it all under control," a police spokesperson said.

"It has become calmer bit by bit," he added.

Past Labour Day demonstrations in the Hanseatic city have led to riots, though these too have decreased in the past few years. On Tuesday, several firecrackers were set off and some cars were scratched, but no major incidents occurred.

“We have recorded the most peaceful operation in years," stated a Hamburg police report.

Further rallies took place in Nuremberg, Koblenz, Erfurt and at other spots across the country.

Although the International Workers’ Day rallies are traditionally used to call for increased workers' rights, figures released by the Federal Statistics Office (Destatis) on Monday revealed that the majority of the working population in Germany is satisfied when it comes to their work.

About a third (33 percent) of respondents said they were very content with their work. Meanwhile 83 percent of those surveyed said they were satisfied which is relatively high, according to Destatis.

READ ALSO: Germany's most bizarre May 1st traditions


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