Anti-NATO rioters sentenced to jail

7th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Eleven youths from France, Germany and Hungary who took part in weekend riots during the NATO summit have been handed out sentences of up to six months in jail by a French court.

STRASBOURG –A French court on Monday handed out sentences of up to six months in jail to youths who took part in weekend riots that saw a hotel set on fire during the NATO summit.

Seven French, three Germans and a Hungarian were sentenced at a rowdy hearing in the eastern city of Strasbourg during which the judge cleared the courtroom after protestors began chanting "fascists".

Two of the Germans, Philipp Grunwald, 25, and Jan Theurich, 23, denounced what they called a "political trial" and said they would go on hunger strike in protest at the six-month sentences they each got.

On Sunday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for "hooligans" who clashed with police and destroyed property in Strasbourg during the 60th anniversary summit of the transatlantic alliance to face severe punishment.

At least 300 people were arrested and 49, among them 15 police officers, suffered minor injuries when violence broke out Saturday during a protest march as US President Barack Obama and 27 other NATO leaders were in the city.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets – police said they numbered 10,000 but organisers put turnout at 30,000. Most demonstrated peacefully but radicals set fire to a hotel, a pharmacy and a disused customs office.

About 2,000 masked demonstrators belonging to a hardcore anarchist group called the Black Block, according to the police, hurled rocks and other objects at police, smashed windows with metal bars and damaged offices.

AFP / Expatica

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