Riots in Stuttgart: looking for the causes

Saturday night saw plundering, street brawls and clashes between police and protesters in the German city of Stuttgart. Bottles and stones were thrown at police officers. According to some reports the riots were triggered when a youth was stopped by police and checked for drugs. The riots have made waves beyond Germany and other countries are also seeing violent clashes between citizens and police.

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Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (DE) /

Police are now fair game

No one should pretend to be astonished by the images coming out of Stuttgart, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung believes:

“If you neglect a problem for too long, sooner or later you end up paying for it. As legitimate as debates about excessive behaviour by the police and extremist incidents are, the officers who were once called 'friends and helpers' have clearly become fair game for the children of a society who have hardly contributed anything to its freedom and prosperity. ... It is sad that it must still be emphasised that violence must be thoroughly investigated. ... It's also too rash to say that the violence was not politically motivated. How else can you describe open, targeted violence against the state?”

Kleine Zeitung (AT) /

Disintegration in its ugliest form

The excesses of violence were anything but apolitical, the Kleine Zeitung concurs:

“This was not something to be taken lightly, a trivial offence or overreaction, complemented by male intoxication, as a release from the pressure of confinement and gloomy prospects for the future. No, the contempt - and blows - that hit the police were aimed at the state. ... It's true that it's hard to read the turmoil in political terms. The horde was amorphous, unstructured, and lacked an agenda. Not just Germans but also other nationalities took part. There were antifascist hooligans, but not only antifascists. There were migrants, but also people from other backgrounds. And there was - not only but also - an irritatingly high degree of disintegration in its ugliest form. Those who make no mention of this are leaving the Stuttgart narrative to the right-wing simplifiers - and reinforcing it.”

Turun Sanomat (FI) /

Police rely on trust

Police in Finland had to intervene against excesses during the Midsummer celebrations on the weekend and police in Helsinki were also attacked. Hopefully such incidents won't be repeated, Turun Sanomat notes:

“The police in the US have been rightly criticised for excessive use of violence and racially motivated discrimination. ... In Finland, the police cannot be accused of excessive violence, let alone of being trigger-happy. Violence against the police cannot be justified in any way. Examples are very often copied. Hopefully that will not be the case here. The police in Finland are widely trusted and highly regarded. These are the prerequisites for order and security to be maintained reliably, efficiently and impartially.”