Protest turns violent in Germany at European Central Bank opening

By Holly Yan, CNN

(CNN) A massive anti-austerity rally in Germany turned violent Wednesday when protesters clashed with police at the opening of the new European Central Bank headquarters.

Frankfurt police said they used water cannons to disperse protesters after attacks on officers, firefighters, a police station and the Old Opera House.

At least 88 officers have been wounded, police said. Eight suffered head injuries after stones were thrown at them, and 80 were hurt when an unknown substance was poured over them.

The damage included at least seven police cars that were set on fire.

Officers arrested five people for violent acts against police and detained another 500 people for questioning, Frankfurt police spokeswoman Tessa Koschig said.

The protest movement, dubbed “Blockupy,” comes amid criticism of austerity measures from the Greek finance minister, who said his country is suffering under the ECB’s policies.

“We want the European Central Bank to stop the austerity (policies) in Europe that is responsible for mass joblessness … people don’t have enough to eat,” Blockupy spokeswoman Songa Winter said. The European Central Bank is tasked with ensuring price stability in the eurozone, and it targets inflation levels just below 2%. The region has been suffering from depressed economic activity, and unemployment remains near record highs.

“What we’re seeing, I think, in Frankfurt is a reaction you see across the eurozone for many people who have said it’s just been too painful, too much, and it’s been going for too long,” CNN’s Jim Boulden said.

Read more » CNN
See more » http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/18/europe/germany-european-central-bank-protest/

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