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Over 250 people arrested in Berlin after 'unacceptable' May Day violence

Around 30,000 people took part in traditional Labour Day workers’ rights protests yesterday in Berlin.

Police and participants clash during a fire at the edge of the demonstration in Berlin.
Police and participants clash during a fire at the edge of the demonstration in Berlin.
Image: DPA/PA Images

BERLIN POLICE HAVE said they had arrested more than 250 people after May Day rallies descended into “unacceptable” violence that saw protesters pelt officers with stones and bottles and set fire to bins.

Around 30,000 people from across the political spectrum took part in several marches in the German capital yesterday as part of the traditional Labour Day workers’ rights demonstrations.

Most of the demonstrations passed off peacefully, police said.

1-may-demonstrations-berlin Participants in black hoodies during the demonstration of left-wing and radical left-wing groups under the motto Demonstration for the revolutionary 1st of May. Source: DPA/PA Images

But the mood darkened in the evening after police pulled far-left “black block” protesters out of the crowd for not adhering to pandemic hygiene regulations such as social distancing.

Along with thousands of others, they had been marching in the ‘Revolutionary May Day’ demonstration to protest racism, capitalism and rising rents in the city.

Heavy scuffles ensued, with protesters throwing glass bottles and stones at police and setting dustbins and wooden pallets ablaze in the streets.

1-may-demonstrations-berlin Firefighters extinguish the fire on a street on the outskirts of the demonstration. Source: DPA/PA Images

Around 50 officers were injured by the time the protest was broken up, Berlin’s GdP police union said, putting the number of arrests at over 250.

“Violence during demonstrations is absolutely unacceptable,” said Berlin police chief Barbara Slowik.

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“The situation did degenerate but was quickly brought under control,” she added.

The German capital had deployed around 5,600 officers yesterday to monitor the May Day protests, which have turned violent in the past.

Similar protests took place around the world, some of which also descended into skirmishes.

In Paris, police fired tear gas at protesters who smashed windows of bank branches, set dustbins alight and threw projectiles at police.

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