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World Briefing / Germany

273 police hurt in May Day riots

May 03, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

More than 270 police officers were injured in this year's May Day riots in Berlin, prompting criticism of security officials and calls for more officers.

Although the majority of the 273 officers suffered only minor injuries, 14 were hurt badly enough that they will need to take time off work, Berlin Police Chief Dieter Glietsch said. He did not have more details.

The police force had 5,800 officers on hand to try to keep a lid on the violence that has become a yearly ritual in Berlin. They used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons as some of the estimated 5,000 leftist demonstrators, marching under the motto "Capitalism is war and crisis," threw stones and bottles.

Dozens of demonstrators were injured but there were no exact figures; 289 were arrested.

Rainer Wendt, chairman of one of Germany's national police unions, criticized Berlin Interior Minister Erhart Koerting's handling of the operation, saying protesters were allowed too much time to get out of hand and urging that a "no tolerance" policy be adopted in the future.

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