German ministers and other politicians on Sunday strongly condemned violence in Leipzig that resulted in 31 arrests on the fringes of a rally of people opposed to restrictive measures imposed to fight the pandemic.
The Saxon police, which had received reinforcements from several other regions, made 31 arrests, it said on Sunday in a statement. More than 20,000 demonstrators, mostly unmasked, gathered Saturday in central Leipzig to show their anger at the restrictions related to the Covid-19 epidemic.
After repeatedly urging them to put on masks and to keep a distance of 1.50 metres between two people, the police eventually ordered the rally to be disbanded. But in a tense atmosphere, many refused to comply with the order and began marching on one of Leipzig's main avenues.
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Police and journalists were attacked and various projectiles and fireworks were thrown at police officers, according to local police. The violence continued throughout the evening.
Some 102 crimes were also reported by law enforcement, including 13 personal injuries. Police also reported 32 attacks on journalists.
"Nothing can justify what we saw yesterday (Saturday) in Leipzig," Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said on Twitter. "The affront to science, the incitement to hatred of the extreme right that we have seen are appalling", she added, condemning "strongly the attacks against the police and the press".
The Brussels Times