May Day rallies in Berlin and Frankfurt marred by violence

May Day rallies in Berlin and Frankfurt marred by violence
Police at a protest in Frankfurt on Saturday. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa
Politicians in Berlin have expressed anger after demonstrators at a far-left rally threw bottles at police and burned rubbish bins. Clashes between police and protesters were also reported in Frankfurt and Hamburg.

Several arrests were made in Berlin on Saturday evening after violent scenes at a demonstration in the Neukölln district that was attended by up to 10,000 people.

Protesters threw stones and bottles at the police ranks, or dragged rubbish bins and pallets onto the street before setting them on fire.

Riot police responded by using pepper spray.

Some 5,600 officers patrolled the streets of the capital on Saturday during demonstrations on Labour Day, which has a history of violence in Berlin.

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Protest organizers have accused the police of beating demonstrators for no reason.

The protest was ended after its organizer was himself was attacked by the crowd, the police have stated.

Berlin Social Democrat politician Tom Schreiber tweeted that left-wing and right-wing extremists are “enemies of democracy” who don’t care about Covid-19. Both stand for hatred and violence against police officers, he said.

Broken curfew

By midnight, the situation in Berlin had largely calmed down. There were still small fires here and there but no more major “operational events,” police reported.

But after the city’s 10pm curfew, numerous people were still out and about in the central Kreuzberg district, while crowds fathered in Mauerpark in the north of the city to listen to music.

The aftermath of a violent demonstration in Berlin on Saturday evening. Photo: Annette Riedl/dpa

The demonstrations during the day were peaceful, police said.

About 10,000 cyclists rode through the wealthy Grunewald district on Saturday afternoon to demonstrate against housing policy and rising rents.

At a gathering of about 200 opponents of lockdown measures in Berlin-Lichtenberg, the police filed charges against several dozen people who were not wearing face masks.

Disruptions in other cities

In Frankfurt, another far-left demonstration called “day of rage” descended into violence, with police using water cannon against the demonstrators.

Two protesters needed treatment from medical teams while several police officers were also reported to have been injured.

In Hamburg, police used water cannons to disperse an unauthorized demonstration that had formed in the Schanzen district. Throughout the night they were involved in isolated operations against black-clad anarchists.


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