An ethnically-diverse Berlin neighbourhood has been rocked by two nights of rioting by radical left wingers, with a city official calling the attacks acts of “terrorism”.
Up to 100 masked leftist political actors set cars alight and threw stones in Neukölln, one of Berlin’s most diverse district over the course of Friday and Saturday night. Elsewhere in the city some 4,000 hardened leftists staged a protest against the police and officers are now looking into links between the two events, reports Deutsche Welle.
It is thought the attacks, which saw 28 cars burned and police pelted with rocks were conceived as revenge for a police operation three weekends ago when 500 officers stormed an “anarchist” squat in east Berlin, reports Die Welt. The squat had been linked to a number of crimes in the area including an officer being jumped and beaten by a number of youths.
— DIE WELT (@welt) February 7, 2016
When officers stormed the building they found a large number of what they deemed potentially dangerous items including a shopping trolley full of half-bricks and large quantities of nails. The raid was conducted without a warrant and so the officers were denied entry to the apartments in the block itself.
A police spokesman said the cars targeted for burning this weekend were high-end models, reinforcing the idea there may have been a political motivation behind the attacks. An anonymous on-line group identifying itself as the ‘Social Democratic People’s Bicycle Command’ claimed responsibility.
Berlin’s minister for the interior condemned the protest in Neukölln, calling the burnings “terrorist acts”. He said that in the wake of “leftist anarchists only destruction fellows, they have no respect for the property of their fellow citizens”.
There wasn’t a single arrest made, despite firecrackers, stones, and bottles being thrown at officers, five of whom were injured. The response to the left-wing violence stands in start contract to the police crackdown on the recent PEGIDA march in Cologne, as witnessed by Breitbart London, which saw water cannon deployed for the use of firecrackers.
Despite the hands-off policing this weekend, Berlin’s interior minister vowed that left wing mobs would not rule the streets.
— Kate Brady (@kbrady90) February 8, 2016
Berlin is not the only European city to have seen violence towards their police in the more culturally diverse suburbs this weekend. Stockholm had a police car burnt with a thrown fire-bomb on Saturday night after officers left is briefly unattended. It was the second to be set alight in the area last week.
The same night in a nearby suburb an ambulance responding to a call had its windows smashed. A police spokesman told the FriaTider they were fortunate it wasn’t an emergency call-out, and that the patient could be transferred safely to hospital in another vehicle. A spokesman said had the incident been a medical emergency, the vandalism of the ambulance could have been “disastrous”.
The violence against the forces of law and order has continued beyond the weekend. This morning Swedish police were appealing for witnesses after an unattended squad in Gothenburg car had its tyres slashed and windows smashed. Interior Minister Anders Ygeman said of the incident: “It is shocking people don’t show respect”. Expressen reports Mr. Ygeman is considering tougher sentencing for those who attack emergency vehicles.