German police raid flats in hunt for G20 rioters

German police raid flats in hunt for G20 rioters FILE PHOTO: Protesters clash with riot police during the protests at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

BERLIN (Reuters) – Police raided apartments across Germany on Tuesday, hunting for evidence on anti-capitalist protesters who clashed with officers during July’s Group of 20 leaders summit in Hamburg.

Officers searched 23 properties believed to be used by “Black Bloc” anti-capitalist group in eight German states, the Hamburg force said. They seized 26 computers and 36 mobile phones, but made no arrests.

Around 200 police officers were hurt in July in scuffles with the left-wing group, named after its members’ black hoods and masks.

Police described how 150-200 people separated themselves off from peaceful marches, donned scarves, masks and dark glasses, then grabbed stones from the pavement and projectiles from building sites to hurl at police.

“We are talking about a violent mob, acting together … Whoever participates in this is, in our view, making themselves culpable,” Jan Hieber, head of the police Special Commission, told reporters.

“The militant action was not accidental. There must have been a degree of planning and agreement,” he said.

Police said nearly 600 officers raided properties in states from Hamburg and Berlin to western North Rhine-Westphalia and southern Baden-Wuerttemberg.

They also carried out searches in the southern city of Stuttgart and Goettingen in northern Germany – home to well-known centers of left-wing activism.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Catherine Evans and Andrew Heavens)


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