germany berlin cars arson.jpg
Photograph: EPA/JOERG CARSTENSEN

A Berlin senator said the city's streets would not be handed over to "the left-wing mob," after dozens of cars were vandalized and windows smashed over the weekend.

Interior Senator for Berlin, Frank Henkel, on Sunday slammed the hooded rioters' "terrorist actions" and said that photos show "that left-wing anarchists only care about destruction and have no respect for the property of their fellow citizens."

Late Friday night, 20-40 people cycled through the city, wrecking 28 cars and smashing several windows.

From Saturday night to early Sunday, masked hooligans trashed 20 cars in a second wave of vandalism in the German capital. Witnesses said the gang was made up of 50-100 people.

No injuries were reported and no arrests made. A team of investigators specializing in politically motivated crimes is looking into the damage.

Tensions between the Berlin authorities and the city's left-wing anarchist scene have spiked since January 13, when police squads raided an occupied building in the Freidrichshain neighbourhood.

On Saturday evening, 4,000 people protested in the area against gentrification and campaigned for squatters' rights. A police spokesman said that the event was peaceful, although some demonstrators threw bottles and firecrackers from a formerly occupied house.

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