228 arrested in Germany after clashes at Eritrean event

AFP , Sunday 17 Sep 2023

Some 228 Eritrea opposition supporters have been arrested in Germany after scuffling with law enforcement in the southern city of Stuttgart, local police said Sunday.

German police
A man is taken away by police officers in Stuttgart, Baden-W rttemberg, Germany, on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023, after clashes at a gathering of Eritrean groups. AP


The clashes broke out on Saturday evening when the opposition supporters allegedly tried to disturb an event organised by backers of the government in Eritrea, an East Africa country often dubbed the "North Korea" of the continent.

Nearly 300 law enforcement personnel deployed to the scene found themselves caught in "massive violence" between the two opposing groups, said Carsten Hofle, deputy police commissioner in Stuttgart.

"Neither the intensity nor the extent of the violence was foreseen," he said.

Thirty-two people were injured in the clashes, including 26 policemen, four participants and two opposition supporters, police said.

The event saw up to 90 Eritrea government supporters face off against several hundred opposition backers who refused to go to site designated by authorities to hold the protest, police said.

It added that officers were attacked with bats, nails, metal rods, bottles and stones.

It marked the second time in several months that clashes erupted at an Eritrean event in Germany.

In July, 26 officers were injured and more than 100 people were arrested after clashes at an Eritrean music festival in the town of Giessen.

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia in May 1991 and formally declared independence in May 1993. It is led by Issaias Afeworki, who is known for his iron-fisted rule.

The Red Sea nation has been sanctioned for meddling in regional conflicts, including most recently over abuses by its army in the Tigray war in Ethiopia.

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