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Quarantined Göttingen residents attack police

Kate Martyr
June 20, 2020

Around 120 people are thought to be infected at the block of apartments in the city of Göttingen. Angry at being kept inside, residents threw stones, tires and a computer, before being forced back with tear gas.

Police and local residents in a standoff
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Rampfel

Clashes broke out on Saturday between police and residents of a housing complex in the central German city of Göttingen, leaving several officers injured, local police said.

Around 120 people from the large block of flats are thought to be infected with the novel coronavirus, prompting officials on Thursday to order all 700 residents into a fresh localized lockdown.

The disturbances broke out around midday on Saturday, according to the spokesperson for the police in the state of Lower Saxony.

Read more: Göttingen residents feeling like prisoners

Local residents stand on a window ledge
Some residents stood on window ledges and watched the scene unfoldImage: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Rampfel

The official added that angry residents threw stones, tires and a computer at police out of windows of the complex. They also set objects on fire.

Several residents then attempted to break down the fence that had been erected by city authorities.

Police used tear gas to force back the angry residents, according to the Hessische Niedersächsische Allgemeine (HNA) newspaper, citing eyewitnesses.

A blank was also fired from a pistol inside the complex, known as Groner Landstrasse, according to HNA.

One month lockdown

The entire complex has now been ordered to remain in lockdown until June 25.

City officials stipulated that the residents must remain inside to prevent further spread of the virus. The decision has been denounced by politicians and residents because of the state of the run-down complex.

"People live in the most adverse conditions in this building. The conditions in the dwelling have been known for years," Green party politician Thomas Harms was cited as saying by HNA.

More than 200 children and teenagers are housed in precarious conditions there, reported the news agency dpa, citing Göttingen authorities.

The city began follow-up testing on Saturday afternoon of residents who initially tested negative for the virus, according to a city representative.

The outbreak is one of several to hit large German housing complexes.

DW reported on a virus cluster that broke out in May in the Iduna housing complex, also located outside Göttingen's city center – just over a kilometer from the latest outbreak.

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