What was supposed to be a fun day at a Kurdish cultural festival in Mannheim Germany ended in violence and left eighty police officers injured.
The festival which saw an estimated 40,000 attendees, some traveling from various parts of Europe to attend, started peacefully. Later in the day however a 14-year-old tried to enter the festival carrying a flag of a banned Kurdish organization. Security personnel at the festival attempted to stop the teen from entering the festival grounds but were unsuccessful when other festival-goers began throwing bottles and rocks at the security officers. Police were called to help calm the situation, but as they arrived, they were also pelted with bricks and other debris.
Eurasia Review reports nearly 2,500 Kurds were in a stand-off for two hours with approximately 600 police officers. Police resorted to using pepper spray to disperse the crowd and restore order. Thirty-one festival-goers were arrested and police say knives and brass knuckles were confiscated. Flags and t-shirts of the banned organization were also confiscated.
One officer suffered rib injuries and 79 other officers received mild injuries. At least 13 police vehicles were damaged by stones according to RT.com.
A Germinizer report says police were forced to end a youth march from the French city of Strasbourg to Mannheim on Friday after there were numerous verbal and physical assaults along the way. Two days earlier, seven people, including five police officers, were injured in separate clashes between the Kurdish and Turkish youth as the march was making its way along the route south of Mannheim.