May Day is an international day of leftist protest, but demonstrations in Berlin on Saturday drew participants of all stripes. Pro- and anti-vaxxers, trade unionists, anti-capitalist radicals, Palestinian activists and techno music fans all took to the streets in around 20 separate protests across the city. Notably absent were the extreme right, although small right-wing protests were held in other German cities.
A heavy contingent of police kept order throughout the day, periodically arresting protesters for violating face masking rules. By late afternoon, police said that 60 demonstrators were arrested at a protest against the virus restrictions in the Lichtenberg neighborhood.
As evening fell, the more radical protesters involved in the ‘Revolutionary May 1st Protest’ gathered in Neukolln for a fitting march along Karl Marx Strasse. Fires were lit and the atmosphere took on an angrier demeanor.
Bottles were reportedly thrown at police, and after remaining at a distance for some time, cops intervened to break up protests along the Sonnenallee. Video footage shows officers dragging protesters to the ground, as the sound of broken glass rings out.
As Berlin’s 10pm curfew approached, police continued making arrests and attempting to disperse the crowds. Firefighters worked to extinguish the fires started by the leftists.
Cars were apparently targeted at random by vandals. As the protesters moved past, reporter Alexander Dinger noted that one family emerged from their house, saw their car smashed, and wondered “why?”
Demonstrators in several European countries marked May Day with protests, with intense clashes breaking out in France and a heavy police crackdown seen in Belgium.
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