At least 20 police officers were injured during a riot led by Muslim immigrants in the German capital of Berlin on Tuesday evening, and police chiefs have warned the city’s emergency services are “becoming targets of religious fanaticism.”
Pro-Palestinian activists took to the streets in an unregistered demonstration at the Brandenburg Gate and scenes soon turned ugly as protesters set fire to barricades and hurled stones and pyrotechnics at police officers and firefighters.
A large police presence was deployed to control the situation, and some officers were tasked with protecting the Holocaust memorial next to the Brandenburg Gate with police dogs as rioters chanted anti-Semitic slogans.
The riot is understood to have been sparked by a massive explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, which claimed the lives of hundreds of civilians on Tuesday evening. The cause of the blast is currently unknown, with both the Israeli government and Palestine’s Hamas blaming each other for the explosion.
Police officers eventually used water canons to disperse the rioters and secure the area.
“We are experiencing the effects of a religious war on the streets of the capital, in which our emergency services are becoming targets of religious fanaticism,” said state police chief Stephan Weh on Wednesday.
Riots broke out in Berlin last night after the strike on the Al-Ahly hospital in Gaza.— Visegrád 24 (@visegrad24) October 18, 2023
Police officers were attacked with fireworks and stones pic.twitter.com/pxwyBBe3wT
There was also civil unrest in the Neukölln district of Berlin after Muslim rioters set fire to barricades, e-scooters, and a children’s playground. Firefighters responding to the scene reported that had been attacked with fireworks.
Update: Es brannten Barrikaden, E-Scooter u. ein Kinderspielplatz. Unsere Einsatzkräfte konnten nur mit Unterstützung der #Polizei_Berlin die Brände löschen. 2 Polizeikräfte wurden von uns rettungsdienstlich versorgt. Die Lage hat sich entspannt. Wir waren mit 40 Kräften vor Ort. pic.twitter.com/L3rciVDvje— Berliner Feuerwehr (@Berliner_Fw) October 18, 2023
During an evening of violence in the German capital, police also arrested rioters in connection with a suspected arson attack on a Jewish community.
In the early hours of Wednesday morning, perpetrators threw Molotov cocktails at a Jewish institution run by the Kahal Adass Yisroel association on Brunnenstrasse in Berlin-Mitte. The community comprises a Jewish school and a synagogue.
Heute Nacht (18.10.) wurde ein versuchter Brandanschlag auf unsere Gemeinde Kahal Adass Jisroel verübt. Unbekannte warfen dabei 2 Molotow-Cocktails von der Straße aus in Richtung unseres Gemeindezentrums in der Brunnenstraße in Berlin-Mitte. pic.twitter.com/tnh0UIV9mw— Kahal Adass Jisroel (@KAJ_Berlin) October 18, 2023
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned the anti-Semitic attack on Wednesday.
“It outrages me personally what some of them are shouting and doing, and I am convinced that German citizens are of the same opinion as me,” Scholz told reporters during a visit to Egypt.
“We stand united for the protection also of Jews in Germany,” he added.
“We are all shocked by this terrorist attack,” said a spokesperson for Germany’s Central Council of Jews. “Above all, the families from the neighborhood around the synagogue are shocked and unsettled. Words become deeds. Hamas’ ideology of extermination against everything Jewish is also having an effect in Germany,” they added.