BERLIN: Nearly 100 police officers were injured and over 300 people arrested after May Day rallies in Berlin descended into “unacceptable” violence, police and local authorities said on Sunday.

Around 30,000 people from across the political spectrum took part in several marches in the German capital on Saturday as part of the traditional Labour Day workers’ rights demonstrations. Most of the demonstrations passed off peacefully, police said.

But the mood darkened in the evening after police pulled far-left “black bloc” 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 against 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.

At least 93 officers were injured in the clashes, Berlin’s interior ministry said, and 354 people were detained.

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

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

Berlin state interior minister Andreas Geisel strongly condemned the “blind destruction rage” and violence towards police.

Berlin mayor Michael Mueller said “violence, hatred and ignorance have no place in our society, not on May 1 or any other day”.

Organisers behind the “Revolutionary May Day” rally said in a statement that dozens of protesters were injured in “groundless beatings” by police.

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

Large rallies in Hamburg and Frankfurt also saw unrest, with police in both cities using water cannon to disperse protesters throwing bottles or setting off fireworks.

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

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

Published in Dawn, May 3rd, 2021

Opinion

Eid and money
Updated 13 May 2021

Eid and money

Why is a thing more real when you can touch, taste or feel it as opposed to something that is only experienced?
On whose side?
13 May 2021

On whose side?

Ambassadors strive to ‘well-serve’ their country.

Editorial

Eid during Covid
Updated 13 May 2021

Eid during Covid

It is indisputable that our actions now will prevent matters from becoming far worse.
13 May 2021

Foreign policy gaffes

MIXED messages, retractions and clarifications from the government have become an all-too-common occurrence when it...
13 May 2021

Zimbabwe series win

PAKISTAN’S crushing innings victories over Zimbabwe in the two Tests were a befitting end to their highly...
PM’s Saudi visit
Updated 12 May 2021

PM’s Saudi visit

It is very important that Pakistan take no step, or agree to any demand, that can have an adverse effect on national sovereignty.
12 May 2021

A new intifada?

THE situation in the occupied territories over the past few days has been incendiary, with tensions boiling over as...
Updated 12 May 2021

SOP violations

ON Monday, Sindh Police officials were given a well-deserved slap on the wrist by a judicial magistrate in Karachi...