What You Need to Know About the Frankfurt Protests

Extreme violence rocked the city of Frankfurt, Germany this morning as economic protestors clashed with police in one of the most deadly demonstrations in Europe in recent memory. Here’s what you need to know about this morning’s events and the motives behind the radical reactions. Our deepest sympathies go out to all of the victims from today’s violence, be it policeman or protestor alike.

The Issue:

Activists from across Europe have rallied to Frankfurt, Germany’s fifth largest city, to protest the opening of a new headquarters for the European Central Bank (ECB). Rallying together under the moniker ‘Blockupy’, they have become incensed at the European Union’s repeated bailouts of less economically sound nations, or what is referred to as ‘austerity measures.’ Greece has most recently been in the news for the EU’s austerity measures, but Portugal, Ireland, and Cyprus are soon to follow. Blockupy is not an extremist group per se, (a spokesperson insisted they had hoped today’s protest would have been non-violent), they are indeed an incredibly leftist organization, with the motives behind protesting being explicitly anti-capitalist.

The Setup:

As a group of up to 10,000 Blockupy protestors gathered around the site of the new ECB site, they were immediately met by ranks upon ranks of policemen and a barbed wire barricade around the bank. The initial plan was to simply blockade the bank, preventing it from opening on its first day in its new home, but obviously things turned out more sour than they had anticipated. With tensions raised high from the onset, violence very quickly erupted on both sides.

What Happened:

Reportedly beginning with several police cars and vans being set ablaze, things escalated rapidly. Firefighters fought to keep blazes under control as trashcans and tires were lit and thrown at police. CNN has rather disturbingly reported over 80 police officers being injured from “an unknown substance” being poured on them. Stone missiles became the next weapon of choice by protestors, causing significant damage to municipal vehicles and policemen.

The Result:

As of this reporting, over 350 arrests have been made against protestors charged with disturbing the peace. Ultimately, the bank opened as planned, though we can’t imagine how shaky employees must have been around the water cooler. For now, things have been reared under control and Frankfurt is settling back to normal, but austerity in Eurozone nations remains a hot button issue. Who knows where tensions might boil over next.

Homeslide Image via Instagram user @faton.toski

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