Editor's Picks Europe Latest Top Stories World

93 cops injured, 354 protesters arrested amid violence on May Day in Berlin

BERLIN, Germany: At least 93 police officers were injured and 354 people arrested in Berlin during Labor Day protests on Saturday.

Berlin city official Andreas Geisel condemned the violence on Sunday, saying it had “nothing to do with political protest.”

“We will not accept that some violence-seeking individuals want to deprive us of May Day as a day of peaceful demonstration,” said Geisel. “We do not give way to violence.”

There were clashes Saturday evening between police and demonstrators in the Neukölln area, with the Berlin police tweeting that some protesters threw stones and bottles at officers and set fire to bins.

“Violence during demonstrations is absolutely unacceptable,” Berlin police chief Barbara Slowik said on Saturday. “The situation did degenerate but was quickly brought under control,” she added.

Slowik said that up to 10,000 people took part in the demonstrations. The organisers said the number of participants was over 20,000.

During the day, several rallies took place in the German capital. Most of the demonstrations passed off peacefully, police said.

RTL reported that around 10,000 cyclists demonstrated against capitalism in the Grunewald quarter.

In Lichtenberg, around 200 people protested against the pandemic measures. Around the Ostbahnhof station, people came together “to revitalise the culture and club scene.”

Berlin has also seen protests against coronavirus lockdown measures.

In August 2020 police in the city ordered a halt to a demonstration, citing the crowd’s failure to abide by social distancing guidelines.

Thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, including a large contingent of far-right groups and members identifying with the US-based right-wing conspiracy movement QAnon.

At the end of April Germany’s intelligence service announced it would put some anti-lockdown activists under surveillance because of concerns they are attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the federal state.

The country’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) announced that the new surveillance would focus on some members of the “Querdenker” group.

The movement has been promoting coronavirus and vaccine scepticism as well as other conspiracy theories and has been involved in violent anti-lockdown protests.

Spain

In Spain, marchers took to the streets in Madrid and Barcelona to call for government pensions and the protection of wages in a country that has seen 17% of jobs lost since the beginning of the pandemic.

The UK

Meanwhile, in London, protesters took to the streets to oppose the new police powers act that is being pushed by Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party and will restrict the right to protest in the UK.

Bosnia

In Bosnia, coal miner Turni Kadric said he and his colleagues are “barely surviving” and protesters argued for European standards of work protection and wages.

Turkey

In Turkey, dozens of protesters were arrested in Istanbul as they tried to mark May 1 against a ban imposed by the government due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Over 200 were arrested as they tried to reach Taksim Square and other public spaces in the city, with photographs showing police firing tear gas and dragging protesters to the ground.

In Turkey, May Day has traditionally brought critics of the government out on the streets and regularly provokes police crackdowns.

Turkey has had a strict lockdown in place since April 29 due to a deadly third wave of Covid-19.

Indonesia

In Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, thousands voiced anger at a new jobs law that critics fear will reduce severance pay, lessen restrictions for foreign workers and increase outsourcing as the nation seeks to attract more investment.

Protesters in the capital of Jakarta laid mock graves on the street to symbolize hopelessness and marches were being held in some 200 cities.

In the Philippine capital of Manila, where a monthlong coronavirus lockdown has been extended by two weeks amid a surge in infections, police prevented hundreds of workers from demonstrating at a public plaza, protest leader Renato Reyes said.

But protesters did gather briefly at a busy Manila boulevard, demanding pandemic cash aid, wage subsidies and Covid-19 vaccines amid rising unemployment and hunger.

“Workers were largely left to fend for themselves while being locked down,” labour leader Josua Mata said.