Biker gangs brawl during German murder trial
An estimated 600 members of two rival German motorcycle gangs converged on a peaceful city for a murder trial and tried to settle scores on the street.
17 December 2007
Muenster, Germany (dpa) - An estimated 600 members of two rival German motorcycle gangs converged on a peaceful city Monday for a murder trial and tried to settle scores on the street.
Two members, 48 and 36, of one gang, the Bandidos, are accused in court in Muenster of shooting dead a bike shop owner, 47, affiliated to the other gang, the Hell's Angels, in May this year.
Riot police intervened to stop a brawl at nightfall involving about 40 bikers on the edge of town after a Hell's Angel rammed his mini-bus into a Bandido on the street, police said.
Police had monitored the opposing groups all day for fear they would settle the feud with violence. The combative gangs are believed to oversee drugs and gun rackets.
Neither gang is willing to assist the justice system they hate by testifying at the trial.
The rivals were obliged to sit in different sections of the public gallery and were scolded by the judge for talking during the half-hour first hearing. A court official said there was no violence.
So far 19 widely spaced hearing days have been set down for the murder trial with a verdict expected next April.