Clashes Erupt in Stuttgart Between Police, Rioters

  • According to the police, the situation exploded shortly after midnight near Palace Square, in the heart of the city.
  • Police have not yet provided any information about the background and motives of what happened last night.
  • The killing of George Floyd in the United States, and the global protests that followed, sparked an intense debate in Germany.

A German police spokesman said Sunday morning that “the situation (in the city of Stuttgart) has gone out of control.” At midnight last night, “hundreds of people, who were moving in groups, have looted shops and smashed windows and attacking the security men with bottles and stones. A number of police officers were wounded.”

Stuttgart is the capital and largest city of the German state of Baden-Württemberg. 2.8 million people live in the city’s administrative region[2] and 5.3 million people in its metropolitan area,[1] making it the fourth largest metropolitan area in Germany.
According to the police, the situation exploded shortly after midnight near Palace Square, in the heart of the city, where clashes took place. About 500 people participated, which compelled the police in the area to request reinforcements. Federal Police, and support from the Baden-Württemberg Police, arrived in the city of Stuttgart. The situation was not controlled until about 3:00 in the morning.

A video spread on social media showing a young man smashing windows of a store and removing street stones. Twitter users and German social media users also shared photos and videos showing part of the city riots, which also targeted police cars.

“There was real sabotage,” a police spokesman said, noting that a number of shops and cars had been damaged and looting in the city’s commercial center.

The police confirmed calm had returned this morning, but the police presence was still heavy in the city center in anticipation of any emergency. This is not the first time that such confrontations have occurred. Last week, clashes occurred between the police and a group of mostly young men, but the situation did not reach what it reached last night.

Just as the police disclosed the number of people arrested, they have not yet provided any information about the background and motives of what happened last night, and whether there is someone behind it.

The George Floyd protests are an ongoing series of protests and demonstrations against police brutality and racism in policing. The unrest began as local protests in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul metropolitan area of Minnesota before quickly spreading across the entire nation and internationally in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

With the killing of George Floyd in the United States, and the global protests that followed, a sharp political debate erupted in Germany over speculation of “structural discrimination” in the police force. While left-wing parties demanded to fight what it called “latent” or “structural” racism, the right-wing parties warned against circulating prejudices and blaming the police structures indiscriminately on such a heavy charge.

In principle, there are differences between the American and German societies in terms of the history of slavery, ethnic composition, and immigration problems, as well as the relationship with colonial heritage. The echoes of the broad global solidarity movement with Floyd showed that the issue of racism remains highly sensitive in European societies.

In this regard, activist Karen Taylor, head of the European Network Against Racism, affirmed that “most European countries do not collect data on racist incidents and police violence,” and her country mentioned Germany as an example. “So we do not have a clear picture of what is really happening in Europe,” she added.

Many European activists hope that the death of Floyd will be the starting point for lasting fundamental change. “I hope that what we have will not turn into nothing. We will gather the momentum of this movement and translate what people are screaming on the streets into politics,” Taylor said.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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