Left-wing extremists and police have clashed in Berlin after months of tension. Some 1,800 officers were on duty to patrol demonstrators upset with the constant police presence outside a popular left-wing meeting point.
An anti-authoritarian left-wing demonstration in Berlin ended with multiple injuries and arrests on Saturday night after protesters clashed with police in the Friedrichshain neighborhood.
The riot left 123 officers injured, while 86 protesters were arrested, police said on Sunday.
Despite deploying some 1,800 security personnel there and in neighboring Kreuzberg, paramedics still found themselves tending to bloodied officers and demonstrators alike.
It was not immediately clear how severe the injuries were, or how many protesters were wounded in the clashes.
An estimated 3,500 leftist radicals had gathered to protest police efforts to clear a squatted building in what was once East Berlin. They began banging pots and pans with spoons and shouting "Get the pigs out of the Rigaer!" referring to the street in Berlin where their gathering point is located.
As tensions with the police escalated, protesters began setting off fireworks in the direction of the officers and throwing bottles and stones, while vandalizing police vehicles and breaking store windows.
Police responded with tear gas and took several demonstrators into custody, declaring the riot over a little after 11 p.m. local time.
The authorities have repeatedly tried to clear people from the house on Rigaer Strasse, resulting in months of anti-government rhetoric and reports of vehicles being set on fire, which police have mostly attributed to far-left extremists.
The leftists have made open calls for street violence in recent weeks to show their opposition to the round-the-clock surveillance on the Friedrichshain meeting place.
Berlin Mayor Michael Müller, a center-left Social Democrat, has called for the residents of the Rigaer Strasse property and neighbors to sit down and talk out their issues.
Berlin's Senator of the Interior Frank Henkel dismissed the idea, calling Saturday's protest a "leftist orgy of violence."
The center-right Christian Democrats, however, have warned that the city government is being too soft on far-left violence even as reports show it is on the rise across Germany.
rs, es/bk (AFP, dpa)