A group of around 500 people, predominantly men, roamed the streets of Stuttgart in small groups on Saturday night (20 June), breaking windows, plundering shops, and throwing cobblestones and bottles at the police. 19 officers were injured, and 24 people are currently in police custody.
The incident began when police stopped a 17-year-old German man suspected to be in possession of drugs, according to police reports, prompting some 200 people to attack the officers with stones and bottles.
This escalated into a wave of violence captured on videos posted all over social media.
While a police spokesperson said the situation had gone “completely out of control,” the state parliament’s Social Democrats (SPD) described “conditions similar to civil war.”
Reports from Sunday (21 June) indicated that drunk party-goers were responsible for the violence. The city’s police commissioner, Frank Lutz, claimed that “we can rule out any left-wing political motivation, or any political motivation at all, for these acts of violence.”
In a TV interview, Baden-Württemberg’s Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU), pointed to the city’s party scene, which involves “drug use and a lot of alcohol.”
Politicians from across the political spectrum condemned the attacks.
“These acts against people and property are criminal acts that should be consistently prosecuted and condemned. The pictures from downtown Stuttgart cannot leave us numb,” said state leader Winfried Kretschmann (Greens)
Before the police announced their findings, some prominent politicians pointed to the left and new discussions of racism in the police force as the reason behind the violence.
“The increasing violence against our police officers is also a consequence of the constant hostility of the political left,” claimed the general secretary of the state’s CDU, Manuel Hagel.
National party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer demanded that Berlin rescind its anti-discrimination law, which she and other critics claim puts police and other public authorities unfairly under a general suspicion of racism.