Police in the German city of Stuttgart have said 24 people were arrested and 19 police officers injured after a check for drugs sparked attacks on officers and police vehicles followed by widespread vandalism of storefronts in the city centre. Police said several hundred people were involved.
The disturbance early on Sunday started after officers stopped a 17-year-old on suspicion of drug possession as several hundred people partied outside, police said. Bystanders started throwing stones and bottles, and smaller groups ran through surrounding streets breaking shop windows, according to police.
Police said 40 businesses were vandalised and nine of them had been looted, while 12 police vehicles were damaged before officers brought the situation under control about 4am (02:00 GMT). Only one of the officers was seriously hurt to be considered unable to work, police said.
Of the 24 people arrested, seven were below 18 years old and seven were between the ages of 18 and 21. At least seven will be brought before a judge, according to Thomas Berger, the city’s police vice president. Those involved in the violence were not politically motivated, the police said.
“We can rule out a left-wing political or any political motivation for these acts of violence,” said Franz Lutz, the Stuttgart police commissioner.
The police said the violence was caused by people partying, and others looking for a fight. This analysis was echoed by the city’s mayor, Fritz Kuhn, who blamed alcohol, among other reasons. Politicians condemned the events on Sunday.
State premier Winfried Kretschmann spoke of a “brutal outbreak of violence”, adding that “criminal acts against people and property should be prosecuted and condemned”. The state’s interior minister, Thomas Strobl, echoed these comments, saying the violence was unlike anything the state had seen. He said an investigation team had been established and would be supported by the state criminal police.