Approximately 350 people have been arrested at a German protest held at the opening of the new European Central Bank headquarters in Frankfurt.
Anti-capitalist protestors, largely from the ‘Blockupy’ group, faced up against approximately 10,000 police early this morning to protest the ECB’s role in the European financial crisis. According to some groups the ECB, as well as the International Monetary Fund, Germany and the EU, were largely responsible for creating the crisis.
Protesters gathered as early as 5:30 this morning, before the building was due to open. As crowds gathered events quickly turned violent as marchers came up against riot police assigned with protecting the area.
Within the demonstration many protestors held signs and banners calling for anti-capitalist action, including alternative forms of government across Europe.
As unrest continued tear gas was deployed in an attempt to disperse crowds from the area. Numerous protesters responded to police with violence, including pelting officers with stones, setting fire to police vehicles and destroying property in the area. As of yet it is uncertain which side was first to employ violence. Several reporters at the scene however have reported that events began entirely peacefully.
At the time of writing police have reported to have secured the area and had threatened protestors with water cannons if violence escalates. Police officials have also claimed that the ECB building will remain open and fully functional throughout the day.
In response to the heavy arrests and use of tear-gas members of Blockupy accused police of provoking violence through intimidation tactics. Several reporters on the scene have described ongoing security measures as unpredicted, and the heavy response has been criticised as over-the-top by some.
It is also believed that two police officers were also injured during the violence. Only one of these has been officially confirmed by police spokespeople.