Unrest at Eritrean event in Germany ends with 228 arrests

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Authorities said rioters gathered and attacked festivalgoers and police officers, adding that 27 officers were injured while dispersing the riot. Authorities claimed that rioters attacked festivalgoers as well as police officers. They also said that 27 officers were hurt while dispersing a riot. All of those arrested are either Eritrean citizens or descendents. German police suspect that they are members from the Eritrean Opposition, which is critical of Eritrean president Isaias Abwerki. Police say that 63 suspects were from Switzerland, while the majority of suspects had come from nearby districts. Police initiated investigations on suspicion of (serious) breach of the peace, physical assault, damage to property, (grievous) bodily harm and theft.

Emergency services from Stuttgart, Ludwigsburg, Aalen, Einstaz, the Federal Police and the rescue service were deployed to put down the riot. In addition to reporting what happened, Stuttgart Police Vice President

Carsten Hofler added that neither the extent nor the intensity of the violence could be predicted.

Mayor of Stuttgart Frank Nopper and Hofler both condemned the violence. Nopper also opined that both the German and Swiss judiciary should consider whether expulsion and deportation are necessary for noncitizen offenders.

This is not the first instance of unrest surrounding an Eritrean cultural festival that has happened in Germany. In July, there was another clash in Giessen, west Germany, where the German police launched 125 criminal cases, many of which involved serious breaches of peace. The same tensions are also visible in Canadian cities like Calgary, Toronto, and Edmonton. Mark Neufeld, Calgary’s police chief, said that the clash that occurred in Calgary earlier this month was an attack that was premeditated and targeted. It is also the most violent event to have happened in Calgary. Since the conflict began in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region in November 2020, many Eritreans fled to the West. Human Rights Watch reports that the Eritrean Government implemented a forced conscription program to support the military operation and punished family members of draft avoiders. After Ethiopia, Tigray, and Eritrea signed a formal peace accord in November 2022, the international community asked Eritrean troops to leave Tigray.