BERLIN, DE~ In Leipzig, a city in eastern Germany, over the weekend, far-left supporters of a woman who was jailed for taking part in attacks on neo-Nazis and other extremists engaged in combat with police, injuring 50 officers as well as a number of protestors. The city of Leipzig forbade the planned demonstration on Saturday between supporters of 28-year-old Lina E., whose full name was withheld due to privacy laws. Despite the ban, according to the police, about 1,500 demonstrators showed present.
With police trying to clear out some portions of the city, what had initially been a relatively peaceful gathering turned violent as some protesters tossed rockets, fireworks, and bottles. Rene Demmler, head of the Leipzig police, reported on Sunday that 50 officers and an unspecified number of dpa, a German news service, said that protestors had been hurt.
The extent of the injuries wasn’t immediately apparent.
Saxony’s regional parliamentary member from the center-left Social Democrats, Albrecht Pallas, criticized the police for their “provocative approach,” according to dpa. He continued by saying that the massive police presence and the way they handled smaller altercations “had an escalating effect, which mostly affected uninvolved bystanders.” The demonstrations followed the conviction of Lina E. for serious bodily harm and membership in a criminal organization by a Dresden state court on Wednesday. She received a prison term of five years and three months.
After roughly two and a half years in detention prior to the verdict, the court announced a few hours later that she had been released with no further details. Authorities accuse a “militant extreme-left ideology” student who had the notion to attack members of the far-right in Leipzig and adjacent places. By the end of 2019, three guys are claimed to have joined her. They were given prison terms ranging from 27 to 39 months by the Dresden court. The protests in Leipzig this weekend are similar to those that took place there and in other German cities, such as Berlin, Bremen, and Hamburg, in the days that followed the ruling. A second protest, which the city has also prohibited, was scheduled for Sunday night.
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