Chaos erupted at an Eritrean event in the city of Stuttgart, Germany, leaving 26 police officers injured in a violent riot.
The incident occurred on Saturday afternoon during a gathering of Eritrean associations, with approximately 80 to 90 participants in attendance.
The German police force had deployed 300 officers to maintain peace and order at the event. According to reports, these individuals from Eritrea were seen as supportive of the dictatorial regime that currently holds power in the Horn of African country.
However, several hundred people who oppose the authoritarian regime, under the control of President Isaias Afwerki, came out to protest the event. Initially, the protesters were assigned a designated area to demonstrate peacefully. However, they disregarded this and made their way towards the meeting venue.
As tensions escalated, opponents of the regime launched attacks on both the participants of the event and police officers. Using weapons such as metal bars, bottles, stones, and various objects, they inflicted injuries and chaos upon the scene.
In response, the police defended themselves using batons and pepper spray. The escalating situation led to the deployment of additional forces at regional and federal levels, with some officers even arriving by helicopter.
To ensure the safety of the meeting participants, they were escorted from the venue under police protection. Simultaneously, measures were taken to contain and disperse the protesters. Approximately 200 protesters were encircled by police officers, and their personal information was collected throughout the night.
A total of 26 police officers sustained injuries during the recent incident, along with four individuals participating in the pro-regime event and two opposition activists. Six officers required treatment at a hospital.
The city of Stuttgart is taking a firm stance against such acts of violence and will initiate discussions with the Eritrean associations without delay. While there were no grounds to prohibit the event held on Saturday, evaluations of procedures will be conducted.
In a separate incident in July, over two dozen police officers were injured when rioters caused chaos at a festival celebrating Eritrea in the German city of Gießen.
The officers faced an onslaught of projectiles, including stones, bottles, and smoke bombs as individuals attempted to breach the festival grounds by scaling a fence.
Furthermore, Stockholm experienced riots during an Eritrean festival in August, resulting in more than 50 injuries.