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The BBC's Rob Broomby in Berlin
"We have a tense stand-off here"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 1 May, 2001, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
May Day clashes in Berlin
May Day demonstrations in Germany
Demonstrations started in the early hours in Berlin
By Rob Broomby in Berlin

Riot police in Berlin have been in action after anti-capitalist and anarchist demonstrators began their protests sooner than expected.

They have held a May Day protest in Berlin every year since 1987, and it has always been marred by violence.

Far-right demonstrators in Berlin district of Hoehenschoenhausen
Far-right demonstrators have met local opposition
This time passions have been especially inflamed by a court ruling banning the planned anti-capitalist march, and allowing a far-right protest to go ahead.

The trouble began in the early hours of the morning in two separate locations in former East Berlin, one on the site of the Berlin Wall itself.

Under cover of darkness, roads were blocked and simple barricades were erected.

Riot control police were pelted with rocks and bottles and fires were started illuminating the night sky for miles around.

Far-right march

Water cannons and armoured cars have been in action, and there were running battles with the police.

May Day data
40 overnight arrests in Berlin
9,000 police deployed in Berlin
Barricades and one arrest in Hamburg
Peaceful trade union rallies across the country
A record 9,000 police have been mobilised across the capital to control the expected violence throughout the day.

The Berlin authorities had sought a ban on both the anti-capitalist anarchist protest and that of the far-right National Democratic Party, the NPD.

But the courts overturned the ban on the far-right, and several hundred NPD supporters, chanting "jobs for German workers", have been holding a noisy but so far peaceful protest in east Berlin.

Local residents have turned out to oppose the flag-waving marchers, mostly skinheads, with equal passion.

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30 Apr 01 | Europe
Neo-Nazis on the rise in Germany
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