Three nights of riots in Leipzig after eviction squat

In Leipzig there were riots again last night, in which policemen were pelted with bottles and stones. Demonstrators also set off fireworks, reported by local media. It is the third night in a row of riots in the East German city

Last night two policemen were wounded. Also a police car burned down and a pilot of a police helicopter was blinded with a laser pen. Earlier this week nine policemen were injured.

According to the German police, these are actions of the extreme left. The demonstrations took place in Connewitz, a district in Leipzig with many squatters, autonomists and anti-fascists. At the turn of the year there were also disturbances in that district between the extreme left and the police.

Because of the demonstration last night, tram traffic in the south of the city was shut down. Around 150 demonstrators brought a tram to a standstill by 01.30 a.m. and smeared it with graffiti. Garbage cans in the neighbourhood were also thrown up as barricades and set on fire.

The police picked up a number of rioters. Fifteen of them may be facing charges for disrupting public order, destroying property and resisting arrest.

Violence is not the solution

The demonstrations started on Thursday, after the police had cleared a squat. According to the squatters, the squatting earlier that day was meant to draw attention to the high rents and the lack of affordable housing.

Monika Lazar, who sits for the Greens in the Bundestag and comes from Leipzig, calls the riots on Twitter counterproductive: “This doesn’t help to bring about affordable rents, violence is not the solution”

Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer of Saxony, which includes Leipzig, says to Bild that a national problem is becoming visible in Leipzig: “Leipzig is now a gathering place of extreme left-wing extremists from all over Germany. Society must send out a disapproving signal – political parties, trade unions and churches”

The police are afraid that the riots are not over yet. Next week a summit was planned between the EU and China in Leipzig. It was cancelled because of the coronavirus. Extreme-left activists, however, have, according to press agency DPA, called for that date to be used to protest under the pretext “Storm the fortress – Break all borders!