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Right-wing violence at Weimar May Day celebrations as unions seek to protect minimum wage

Several people were lightly injured when nationalists tried to break up a May Day demonstration in Weimar. Police arrested dozens after they interrupted a lawmaker's speech and attacked the city's mayor.

Fifteen people were injured on Friday when

right-wing extremists

interrupted a May Day trade union gathering in the eastern German city of Weimar. Social Democratic (SPD) parliamentarian Carsten Schneider tweeted that at least 40 people had attacked while he was giving a speech, injuring one of his elderly colleagues.

Weimar's mayor, Stefan Wolf, was also injured in the scuffle.

The nationalists took the microphone out of Schneider's hand and began to shout extremist slogans into it before the police intervened, making a total of 29 arrests.

Protecting the minimum wage

Demonstrations by trade unions are a traditional part of the May Day holiday in Germany, and similar events took place in Berlin, Munich, Essen, Düsseldorf and Cologne.

At the main event in Berlin, the chairman of the DBG, Germany's umbrella organization for workers' unions, Reiner Hoffman, called on the workers of the nation to defend the minimum wage against challenges by lawmakers within Germany's ruling coalition.

"We will not allow an erosion of the minimum wage," Hoffmann said in front of the Brandenburg gate. He added that after a decade of fighting for the 8.50 euro per hour minimum wage, which only came into force this past January, it was absurd that some employers and center-right politicians were seeking to dismantle it.

In Essen, the head of the Verdi trade union threatened to continue the strikes that have seen

schools and child care centers closing over wage disputes

. Negotiations between the teachers unions and employers recently fell through, and the aftermath will "hit parents hard," Verdi chief Frank Bsirske said.

es/jil (dpa, Reuters)

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