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Largely peaceful May Day rallies kick off in Germany

Thousands of people in the German cities of Berlin and Hamburg are participating in demonstrations marking Labor Day. The protests have so far been peaceful, with police reporting some minor incidents of violence.

Around 2,300 people participated in May Day rallies in the German capital, Berlin, on Saturday evening, officials said. Some 760 people gathered in the Neukölln district, while at Mauerpark in the Prenzlauer Berg district around 1,500 people took part in largely peaceful demonstrations.

There were reports of sporadic violence in Hamburg, where rally participants hurled bottles at police. The protesters also set a government vehicle on fire. The police arrested a 24-year-old suspect.

Deutschland Demonstrationen anlässlich der Walpurgisnacht in Berlin

Demonstrations also took place in the Berlin district of Wedding

Overall, the Labor Day rallies have been relatively more peaceful than previous years, said police spokesman Timo Zill.

Last year, left-wing groups took to the streets in May Day demonstrations in Berlin and Hamburg. While the protests in Berlin were relatively peaceful,

violence broke out in Hamburg

and several arrests were made.

More rallies are planned in Berlin and Hamburg on Sunday. The security has been beefed up in major cities.

shs/jr (dpa, AFP)

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