More than 300 leftist rioters set fire to train tracks and vandalized streetcars and buses in the western German town of Dortmund on Tuesday after a May Day demonstration against right-wing extremism got out of control, Dortmund police said Tuesday.
The fires were extinguished after an hour but some tracks and wires were so heavily damaged that train service was disrupted, police said.
"Several persons were arrested but at this point we cannot say how many," police spokesman Wolfgang Wieland said.
About 1,800 persons had participated in the protest against right-wing extremists in Dortmund. Later on Tuesday, about 650 members of right-wing groups gathered for a demonstration in a different part of the city, Wieland said.
It was one of several outbreaks of violence on May Day in Germany. In the eastern town of Erfurt, several protesters were injured during a right-wing demonstration and various counterprotests, police reported. About 1,300 members of the far-right NPD party marched through the city center, and some hurled bottles and cobblestones at police. Left-wing protesters also caused "severe damage of property" a police spokeswoman said. She would not give details on damage or the number of arrests.
In cities all over Germany, demonstrators marched against right-wing extremism but most protests remained peaceful.
In Berlin, nightime violence in the by-now traditional May 1 clashes seemed to be falling short of that in some previous years. Police took 119 people into custody early Tuesday for throwing stones and bottles, officials said.
Fourteen officers were slightly injured but remained on duty, police said. More riots were expected for Tuesday night and over 5,000 policers officers were monitoring possible violent outbursts in the capital.
In 2006, 179 people were arrested on May 1 in Berlin and 68 police officers injured, most not seriously.
Police in Berlin are keeping an eye on radical protesters before this year's G8 summit in Heiligendamm; there were also fears that the 20th anniversary of the first such disturbances might spur increased violence. In 1987, a supermarket was burned down amid street battles with police but in recent years the rioting has waned.