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Leipzig: Water cannons of the police

Photo: Sebastian Willnow / dpa

After the guilty verdict for Lina E. as well as clashes between demonstrators and the police, the night in Leipzig has remained largely quiet. A car caught fire in the Connewitz district. A connection to the demonstration could not be ruled out, said a police spokeswoman on Thursday. Three suspects have been provisionally arrested.

Solidarity rallies for Lina E. had also taken place in Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen, Cologne and Dresden, among other places. The student was sentenced on Wednesday to five years and three months in prison. The Higher Regional Court of Dresden found the 28-year-old from Kassel guilty of membership in a criminal organization for several attacks on right-wing extremists.

Three co-accused men received sentences ranging from two years and five months and three years and three months. The Federal Prosecutor General accused the group of brutally beating up actual or alleged supporters of the right-wing scene in Leipzig, Eisenach and the village of Wurzen between 2018 and 2020.

The arrest warrant against Lina E. was suspended subject to conditions. She does not have to serve the remaining sentence until the verdict is final. The sentence imposed remained below the requests of the Federal Prosecutor's Office, which had certified that the defendants had a "militant left-wing extremist ideology". She had demanded eight years in prison.

According to the police, around 800 people took part in a demonstration in Leipzig on Wednesday evening. The indicated number of participants of 150 had thus been "blatantly exceeded". A planned elevator had been prohibited by the assembly authority and only a stationary assembly had been permitted. One of the reasons for this was the masked and sometimes militant appearance of the demonstrators, who also carried "protective armament" such as special gloves.

After the meeting, the participants tried to break through the police barriers. Bottles, stones and pyrotechnics were thrown in the direction of the emergency services. According to the police, there were also cases of bodily harm. The attempt to erect barricades was prevented by the officials by quickly intervening. A laser pointer was pointed at a police helicopter. Four officers were slightly injured by thrown objects. The police recorded several crimes. Around midnight, the situation calmed down.

On Saturday, the radical left-wing scene is calling for participation in a big "Day X" in Leipzig. The police fear riots and are preparing a large-scale operation.

During the protests in Bremen against the guilty verdict, eight forces were injured by kicks, according to police. However, they were able to continue their service, as the police announced on Thursday. On Wednesday evening, there was also damage to emergency vehicles due to kicks and bottle throwing. The amount of damage is not yet known. A total of 70 people have been provisionally arrested. Of these, 56 were taken to police headquarters. All of them have since been released.

At the Bremen Stone Gate, around 350 mostly masked people had gathered on Wednesday evening. According to the police, they had attacked emergency services "relatively quickly and abruptly". According to their own statements, the police were deployed with numerous forces. The situation calmed down again late in the evening.

There were also riots at a demonstration in Cologne. Partly masked participants attacked police officers and threw pyrotechnics on Wednesday evening, a police spokesman said on Thursday. Two police officers were slightly injured.

About 80 to 100 sympathizers of the left-wing spectrum had gathered for the unregistered demonstration in Cologne's Südstadt. The police were deployed with a large contingent. The officers ascertained the personal details of 16 people and filed criminal charges, including for breach of the peace.

Hundreds of people protested on Wednesday evening in Hamburg against the conviction of the four left-wing extremists. The supporters of the left-wing scene had first gathered at the Rote Flora and marched from there through the Schanzenviertel.

The police spoke in estimates of about 1000 to 2000 participants. On banners, they demanded, among other things, "Free them all" and "Fight their class justice – it has hit individuals, meaning we all". During their march, the demonstrators were accompanied by numerous police officers. Water cannons were also on standby. A police spokesman said the demonstration was "mostly peaceful."

During the train, pyrotechnics were used again and again. According to the police, individual bottles were thrown, there were also individual arrests.

In Berlin, several hundred sympathizers from the left-wing scene also took to the streets. They moved on Wednesday from the State Criminal Police Office on Tempelhofer Damm in the Tempelhof district towards Gneisenaustraße in Kreuzberg. The police put the number of participants at around 500. The demonstration was largely peaceful, there were also some scuffles, it said.