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Jail time for extremists in Leipzig riot

August 24, 2018

A Leipzig court has handed down its first sentences following a 2016 right-wing riot in the district of Connewitz. The rampage led to hundreds of thousands of euros in property damage and more than 200 arrests.

A fast food restaurant in Leipzig after the 2016 riot
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Woitas

Two men arrested after a rampage by right-wing extremists in Leipzig have each been handed a 20-month prison sentence by the Leipzig District Court.

Martin K. and Dennis W., whose surnames are protected in accordance with German privacy law, were arrested along with hundreds of other right-wing extremists who rioted through Leipzig's southern district of Connewitz in January 2016.

The men, both of whom are 26 years old, were convicted of disturbing the peace in a particularly serious way. While a direct connection between the men and the damage could not be proven, Judge Marcus Pirk said the men had been participants in the violent group, which fulfills the offense of disturbing the peace.

The defense had moved for acquittals, and said they would be filing appeals.

Costly damage

More than 200 people were arrested after the rampage in Connewitz caused an estimated €113,000 (about $130,000) in property damage.

The rioters, several of whom were wearing masks, were seen lighting fireworks, smashing shop windows, setting several cars and trash bins alight and trying to erect barricades. The rampage coincided with a demonstration of LEGIDA, the Leipzig offshoot of anti-migrant movement PEGIDA, in Leipzig's city center.

Police surrounded the mob in a side street, arresting 211 people. Five officials were injured in the mayhem. Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung spoke of "open street terror" at the time.

The trial of Martin K. and Dennis W. was the first of 92 cases the Leipzig District Court will hear in relation to the riot.

dv/cmk (AFP, dpa, epd)

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