Turkish nationals and leftists fought neo-Nazis in West Berlin on the night of Adolf Hitler's 100th birthday, injuring 13 people, smashing shop windows and vandalizing buildings, a police spokesman said Friday.
The unrest, which started Thursday night and persisted into the early morning hours, began after neo-Nazis announced they would hold a demonstration to mark the birthday of the Nazi dictator.Neo-Nazis also threatened another "Kristallnacht" - or Night of Glass - the name given to the night of Nov. 9, 1938, when Nazis terrorized Jews throughout Germany in what became a prelude to the Holocaust, in which 6 million Jews died.
Police spokesman Albert Hinz said more than 50 percent of the people involved in the unrest were "Turkish rioters from left extremist groups who wanted to prevent the neo-Nazi demonstration." About 20 percent were anti-immigrant neo-Nazis and the rest were from unidentified left-wing extremist groups.
The spokesman said the planned demonstration did not take place, and the anti-Nazi left-wing extremists used the opportunity "to create a riot."
The main fracas was concentrated in the Kreuzberg suburb, inhabited largely by immigrants. At one point up to 500 rioters smashed shop windows and vandalized buildings.
Thirteen police were injured while making 100 arrests, said the spokesman. "The anti-Nazis caused the injuries when resisting police arrest," he said.
Police confiscated fire bombs, knives, air guns and martial arts weapons, Hinzsaid.
West German police said neo-Nazi groups had distributed leaflets and issued telephone threats against foreign workers.
Heinz Galinski, leader of the Jewish community in West Berlin, expressed anger at the "publicity" surrounding the birthday.
"Germany should confront the past to avoid further electoral gains by ultra-right wing movements," he said.