Ethnic Kurds clashed overnight with members of a Islamic State (ISIS) movement in Hamburg, as ISIS clashes spread far from Syria. Police in the northern German city say 14 people were injured overnight in the violence involving hundreds of demonstrators before riot police were able to quell the disturbance.
UK Daily Mail Police spokesman Karina Sadowsky said this morning that fighting began after hundreds of Kurds held a protest against the Islamic State group. Similar protests took place throughout Europe on Tuesday by Kurds seeking to draw attention to Islamic State’s onslaught against the Kurdish town of Kobani in northern Syria.
The violence erupted after a standoff between the protesters, rumoured online to be supporters of the PKK, and members of a nearby mosque associated with the Salafist movement – a strict interpretation of Islam backed and funded by the Saudi regime. Local media reported that some demonstrators came armed with iron bars and machetes. Sadowsky says police used water cannons to break up the protest, and arrested 22 people.
The Local reports that 400 Kurds gathered near the Al-Nour mosque after an earlier demonstration against the violence in Iraq and Syria. They were met by about 400 Salafi Muslims, according to police who said members of both groups came armed with metal bars, machetes and other sharp objects.
Fighting broke out at about 11pm, prompting police to block all roads and try to drive vehicles between the two groups. After midnight police moved in with water cannon, staying on the streets in riot gear until the early hours of the morning.
It’s not the first inter-ethnic violence in Germany related to the current Middle East crisis. On Monday evening six people were hurt in Celle, Lower Saxony, after a brawl broke out between about 30 Muslims and 60 Yazidi Kurds. Around 60,000 Yazidis live in Germany.
Last night’s violence in Germany came as at least nine Kurdish demonstrators were killed by police in Turkey as demonstrations against the government’s failure to help Syrian Kurds fighting Isis just across the border turned violent.