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Germany

Tensions High as German Biker Gang Trial Begins

The trial of 14 Hell's Angels motorcycle gang members , the largest of its kind ever held in Germany, gots underway in Hanover amid heavy security.

A member of Hells Angels is lead into the courtroom in Hanover

A heavy police presence accompanied the start of the trial

Dozens of police officers stood guard at the opening of the trial of 14 German Hell's Angels members charged with greivous bodily harm and theft. Twelve of the accused were deemed to be so dangerous that they were not permitted to sit next to the lawyers in charge of their defense.

The defendants are accused of raiding the headquarters of a rival gang, the Bandidos, in the town of Stuhr in March 2006, brutally beating five rival gang members and stealing money, insignia and a laptop computer.

Police with dogs fanned out in and around the courthouse and patrolled the highways into town in a bid to prevent clashes between the two gangs. Only 20 members from each gang were allowed into the courtroom to witness the trial.

Earlier this year, some 450 leather-clad bikers roared into the western city of Muenster to see two members of the Bandidos jailed for life for the 2007 slaying of a Hell's Angel.

Biker gangs including the Bandidos and the Hell's Angels, both of which have members all over the world, have been involved in bloody feuds in recent years and are believed to be highly active in organized crime.

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