German police turn water cannon on Hamburg rioters

21st August 2011, Comments 0 comments

Police in this northern German city said Sunday they used water cannon to disperse rampaging youths who set garbage bins ablaze and tried to break into a bank after an annual street party.

Meanwhile authorities in Berlin, which has seen a rash of arson in recent days, reported fresh attacks overnight.

A Hamburg police spokeswoman said officers turned water jets on vandals late Saturday and early Sunday after they were attacked with bottles, rocks and fireworks.

Masked rioters had earlier pelted a bank branch and tried to smash through the front door with a wooden beam before starting a fire at the entrance.

Four police cars were damaged and a BMW luxury sedan was set alight.

The violence came at the end of the Schanzenfest, an annual street festival in a traditional hotbed of leftist activism in Germany's wealthiest city that has undergone rapid gentrification in the last decade.

The party drew some 10,000 people and went off peacefully until night fell.

"It was only when the festival as such ended that there were several arson attacks and attacks against property that made police intervention necessary," spokeswoman Karina Sadowsky said.

Thirty people were detained and two police officers suffered slight injuries. At the same event last year, 14 people were wounded including 11 police officers and more than 40 people were taken into custody.

Police mobilised 2,100 officers, many brought in from other regions, to keep the peace after recurrent problems linked to the event.

In Berlin, where dozens of cars have been set on fire in the last week, police said a motor scooter and a Mercedes luxury car as well as construction equipment were torched overnight.

© 2011 AFP

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