by WorldTribune Staff, June 23, 2020
A violent mob chanting “Allahu Akbar” attacked police and went on a rampage of looting and destruction on Saturday after a German teenager was arrested for a drug offense, sparking what locals said were the worst ever riots in Stuttgart.
Of the 24 people arrested, 12 were foreign nationals while three of the other 12 were German nationals with a migrant background, police announced at a press conference on Sunday.
Hans-Jürgen Kirstein, the head of a police union, told Bild that “young people with a migration background were at the front of the riots.”
Police blamed alcohol and the “party scene” for the outbreak of violence, but some have linked the riots to the anti-police demonstrations in the United States.
Thomas Strobl, the interior minister of the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg which includes Stuttgart, said the “pictures reaching us from America may have led to a certain aggression.”
Footage verified by German media showed some of the rioters chanting “Allahu Akbar,” meaning “God is great” in Arabic, as they ran down a street during the night-time violence in Stuttgart.
Stuttgart’s deputy police chief Thomas Berger said that in his 30 years as a police officer he had never seen violence like this and “there have never been any scenes like this in Stuttgart.”
Berger said the violence had erupted during a “totally normal” encounter in which police arrested a white German teenager on suspicion of a drug offense.
Berger said that 200 to 300 people immediately started attacking police in “solidarity” with the teenager, and the crowd of rioters eventually grew as high as 500.
The rioters even threw bottles at paramedics who had been called to the scene, he said. German media described the scene, in which at least 19 police officers were injured, as a “battlefield.”
Police said 40 businesses were vandalized and nine of them looted before the violence was finally brought under control at around 4.30 a.m.
“These are unbelievable scenes which have left me speechless and which I’ve not experienced in my 46 years in the police,” Stuttgart Police Chief Franz Lutz said. “There was a never-before-seen dimension of open violence against police and massive property damage. It is a sad day for Stuttgart and also for the police.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the violence as “abhorrent” and said rioters had “turned against their city.”