Lazy eyes listen
Over the weekend, far-left protestors battled with German police in the eastern city of Leipzig, sparked by a recent court verdict that sentenced a woman known for anti-Nazi action and three collaborators to prison.
The riots erupted on Wednesday, after a Dresden court sentenced four left-wing militants to prison for violent activities against suspected neo-Nazis. Lina E, a 28-year-old student identified as the ringleader in the case, was sentenced to five years in prison. The penalties for the three others ranged from two years and five months to three years and three months.
Local activists announced a march dubbed ‘Day X’ to protest the court ruling. Despite being banned by local officials due to safety concerns, the event drew hundreds of demonstrators, with preliminary estimates putting the number of participants at 1,500.
The protests began peacefully but quickly became violent, with protestors pelting law enforcement personnel with stones and bottles. According to Leipzig police, roughly 50 cops have been injured in clashes since Friday, with an unknown number of protestors also injured.
The police also claimed to have surrounded 1,000 demonstrators and arrested 30 of them. In addition, up to 50 persons were detained but later released by Sunday midday. In addition, the police initiated an investigation into major breaches of the peace and attacks on officers.
Police officers and demonstrators are seen fighting in videos from the site, with some policemen using batons and pepper spray to disperse the activists. Other videos shared on social media show demonstrators setting off pyrotechnics and setting fires in the streets.
Leipzig Mayor Burkhard Jung called the left-wing protestors “crazy delinquents,” while Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser warned of “senseless violence” led by “left-wing extremist chaotic people and rioters.”
However, the German police faced scathing criticism from left-wing politicians, with Albrecht Pallas, a member of the local parliament, accusing it of a “provocative approach,” stating that it used excessive force. Furthermore, Juliane Nagel and Marco Bohme, two additional local MPs, argued that prohibiting the gathering in the first place was a “scandalous” move that violated basic human rights.
Despite the criticism, Faeser stated that “anyone who throws stones, bottles, or incendiary devices at police officers must be held accountable,” and promised that authorities will “keep a close eye” on the situation in the coming days.