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PROTESTS

IN PICTURES: 1200 demonstrators protest far-right march in Weimar

Over a thousand people, including some left-wing extremists, took to the streets of Weimar on Saturday to protest a planned march through the city by the far-right.

IN PICTURES: 1200 demonstrators protest far-right march in Weimar
Many people took to the streets of Weimar with banners and flags on August 7th to demonstrate against a neo-Nazi march. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

The counter-demonstrators totalled 1,200, police spokesperson Judith Schnuphase told German newspaper Bild.

Meanwhile, around 120 people took part in the neo-Nazi march itself, which was roughly in line with expectations, the spokesperson said.

Participants of a far-right march walk down the street in Weimar with flags and  banners reading “Destroy capitalism: freedom, justice, work”. Photo: dpa-Bildfunk

Because both sides had posted online to mobilise their members across Germany, the city and the police were prepared for considerably more participants on both sides. 

The paper reported that there was a large police presence in Weimar, including officers from other states, such as Bavaria and Lower Saxony, as well as the federal police force, which had announced checks on train travellers at the station. A water cannon was in place near the station from Saturday morning. 

Some of the more radical counter-demonstrators tried to access the area where the far-right march was taking place multiple times, according to the police.

Police hold back participants of a demonstration against a far-right march. picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

Around 25 officials from Lower Saxony were involved in scuffles in the process with police using pepper spray and batons to prevent this.

The pepper spray used also hit police officers, according to observations by a dpa reporter on the scene, Bild reported.

Participants of the counter-demonstration, some with completely covered faces, stand together on a street in Weimar. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

Some of the counter-demonstrators were expelled from the area, according to the police, and some violated the ban on face coverings.

A spokesperson for Mobit, a Thuringia-based initiative against far-right activity, said they were pleased so many people from different cities and regions in Germany were against the neo-Nazi march.

Participants of neo-Nazi march walk down the street in Weimar with flags and banners. Photo: picture alliance/dpa/dpa-Zentralbild | Sebastian Willnow

The attempt by the right-wing extremists to mobilise a larger number of “Querdenker” had apparently not been successful, they said.

READ ALSO: Germany’s spy agency to monitor ‘Querdenker’ Covid sceptics

READ ALSO: How Germany’s anti-mask movement is creating strange bedfellows

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MAY DAY

May Day rallies in Berlin and Frankfurt marred by violence

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.

May Day rallies in Berlin and Frankfurt marred by violence
Police at a protest in Frankfurt on Saturday. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa

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.

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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