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Police cars torched at anti-austerity protest in Germany

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By DAVID McHUGH 5 hours ago

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Protesters torched police cars and threw stones at officers during anti-austerity protests ahead of the inauguration ceremony for the European Central Bank's new headquarters in Frankfurt, Germany.

Police detained 350 people but said those intent on violence were a minority among the thousands who gathered Wednesday to peacefully denounce government austerity policies.

Police said 14 officers suffered minor injuries, several from being hit with stones. A further 80 suffered from contact with some kind of irritating gas or liquid during the confrontations but recovered and later returned to duty.

The early morning violence quickly subsided. Some 10,000 people gathered later in the day for a peaceful rally on the Roemerberg, Frankfurt's main square.

The ECB ceremony went ahead, with ECB President Mario Draghi saying the new building was "a symbol of what Europe can achieve together." The ECB is the monetary authority for the 19 countries that have joined to share the euro currency.

The bulk of demonstrators conducted themselves peacefully, marching in groups, drumming and singing ahead. Some blocked bridges across the Main River or streets in an effort to hinder access to the ECB ceremony.

Masked demonstrators run past a burning police car after clashes between demonstrators and police We …

Leading activists distanced themselves from the violence. Ulrich Wilkens, a left-wing deputy in the regional parliament, said at news conference that he was "both depressed and horrified by what I experienced myself and saw in pictures."

The demonstrations were organized by Blockupy, an alliance including trade unions and anti-capitalist groups. Protesters said they were targeting the central bank because of its role in supervising efforts to restrain spending and reduce debt in financially troubled countries such as Greece.

more info http://news.yahoo.com/police-barricade-european-central-bank-ahead-protests-050250123.html

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