Rioters attack German police and loot shops after drugs operation

Seven people due in court on Monday after hundreds involved in disturbances in Stuttgart

A broken shop window of a shoe store is pictured in Stuttgart, southern Germany on June 21, 2020. Hundreds of people ran riot in Stuttgart's city centre in the early hours of Sunday, June 21, 2020, throwing stones and bottles at police and plundering stores after smashing shop windows. / AFP / THOMAS KIENZLE

Police have arrested 24 people after a night of rioting and looting in Germany sparked by police carrying out an anti-drugs operation.

Seven people are due to appear in court on Monday after several hundred people were involved in the disturbances in Stuttgart city centre where police and their vehicles were attacked.

"I was very shocked when I learnt about what happened overnight," city Mayor Fritz Kuhn said.

"Stuttgart has never witnessed a night like this with such attacks on the police."

Videos on Twitter showed people vandalising shops and throwing stones at officers.

About 40 businesses, including a mobile phone shop and a jewellery store, were vandalised and nine were looted.

The angry crowd swelled to about 500 people, many wearing hoods or masks, after a suspected drug dealer was stopped by police on Saturday evening.

"This was an unbelievable occurrence and I am speechless," said Frank Lutz, the city's chief of police.

"In the 46 years of police service that I have under my belt I have never seen anything like this."

More than 300 police were called in to quell the rioting, including about 100 reinforcements from other precincts.

Twelve police vehicles were damaged and 19 officers suffered injuries, but only one was hurt badly enough to be considered unable to work, police said.

More people were out on the street on Saturday night with many clubs and discos closed because of the coronavirus outbreak, and a party in a central park had drawn people from the surrounding areas.

People stand in front of a shop that was plundered during riots on early June 21, 2020 in Stuttgart, southern Germany. Hundreds of people ran riot in Germany's Stuttgart city centre in the early hours of Sunday, June 21, 2020, throwing stones and bottles at police and plundering stores after smashing shop windows. - Germany OUT
 / AFP / dpa / Julian RETTIG

Politics has been ruled out as a cause of the rioting.

“One cause was probably alcohol, another the addiction to social media film clips,” Mr Kuhn said.

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