BERLIN PROTESTERS, COPS CLASH IN MAY DAY RALLIES
Violent clashes between police and participants marred a rally to mark May Day in Berlin, but other German cities only saw scattered confrontations at events organized by members of the left- and right-wing, Andreas Rabenstein, Lukas Dubro and Jutta Schuetz reported for Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa).
About 5,000 turned out to the rally in Berlin's Neukoelln neighborhood, police said, though observers placed the number at 20,000. Officials were prepared for 10,000 attendees.
Bottles and stones were thrown at officers and police were attacked as they tried to isolate those behind the violence. Rubbish containers and pallets were set on fire. Police used pepper spray, while paramedics stood by.
Three officers were injured by fireworks thrown by attendees. Several demonstrators were arrested.
Meanwhile, the DGB trade union confederation staged its main rally in traditional style in Hamburg under the rubric "Solidarity is the Future."
"We will not allow employers to use the pandemic as an excuse for job cuts, relocations and wage dumping," said DGB head Reiner Hoffmann, calling for greater investment to shape the future.
People waved flags and carried posters at the rally organized by left-wing groups. Some shouted anti-police slogans. Some of the attendees were drunk, police said. The event started late as people failed to observe social-distancing rules, and police repeatedly called on participants to follow the rules, using loudspeakers.
Earlier in the day, 10,000 cyclists attended an anti-capitalist rally in the Grunewald neighborhood. Others came to a rally calling for clubs and cultural life to start up again. In the eastern district of Lichtenberg, meanwhile, 200 people came to protest against measures to contain the pandemic.
Similar events were conducted in dozens of other cities. In Hamburg, police used water cannon to break up a gathering in front of the Rote Flora left-wing cultural center.
Hundreds of people gathered there in the afternoon but failed to observe social-distancing rules. Later, Hamburg police stopped an unauthorized left-wing demonstration and detained some 150 attendees at the Lohmuehlenpark in St Georg. More than 3,000 people came to a march in Frankfurt, police said.
They arrested some participants for throwing fireworks and attacking police and used water cannon to disperse the rally.