At least eighty police officers sustained injuries after violence erupted during a Kurdish cultural festival in the southwest Germany city of Mannheim. More than 30 people were arrested.
The clashes were sparked after the police intervened in an argument between organizes and a 14-year-old teenager who tried to sneak into the event with the flag of a banned Kurdish organization.
The situation spun out of control when Kurdish festival-goers started throwing bottles of water, stones, and other objects at security guards, who had been specifically hired to keep order during the event.
About 2,500 Kurds were in an hours-long stand-off with 600 police officers, German Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported.
A police spokesman told the newspaper that he had never experienced something like it in his 30 years on the force.
Police used pepper spray to restore order, and proceeded to confiscate flags and T-shirts of banned organizations, along with four knives and a set of brass knuckles.
One officer suffered rib injuries and another 79 received mild injuries in the melee. At least 13 police vehicles were damaged by stones.
This year’s Kurdish festival in Germany was attended by about 40,000 people.