German police brace for May Day riots | Germany| News and in-depth reporting from Berlin and beyond | DW | 01.05.2011
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German police brace for May Day riots

Police and emergency responders across Germany are bracing for the annual May day protests during which thousands of activists are expected to march for various causes.

A line of policemen in Hamburg prepares to meet protesters

Thousands of police will face off against protesters on Sunday

Police across Germany are preparing for the traditional May Day marches on Sunday, with some clashes already reported in Hamburg on Saturday evening.

Police in the northern city arrested 10 leftist vandals on Saturday, saying that one car belonging to the German military was burned during the demonstration. Other minor acts of vandalism were also mentioned.

"A car and waste containers were set on fire. Demonstrators threw stones and paint bombs at the police which used water cannon" to disperse the crowd, a Hamburg police spokesman told the AFP news agency.

In Berlin, the other traditional German home of leftist May Day marches, the situation was relatively quiet overnight. Roughly 1,500 people staged a demonstration in the Prenzlauer Berg district, but the police described it as largely peaceful.

Police presence

The German capital will have approximately 6,000 officers from across the country on duty as thousands of protesters are expected to rally on Sunday.

A spokesman for the police said they plan to keep their distance if the protests remain peaceful, but will crack down on displays of violence.

Protesting on May 1 has become something of a tradition in Berlin over the past 30 years, and this year's planned demonstrations are against capitalism and the gentrification process that is morphing parts of the shabby-chic German capital.

Meanwhile, in the northern city of Bremen around 4,000 people demonstrated against an extremist right-wing rally on Saturday, attended by about 200 neo-Nazis. 3,000 police officers monitored the event.

Author: Stuart Tiffen (dpa, AFP)
Editor: Nicole Goebel

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