Police said the situation was “completely out of control” in Stuttgart, one of Germany’s largest cities. They said dozens of small groups hurled stones at officers early on Sunday morning in the city centre as they damaged shops and cars. Police said the riots broke out after officers conducted checks in the city centre related to a crackdown on drug dealing.
A spokesman said several groups ganged up on police officers and started to threaten them before the clashes turned “into real riots”.
Police officers were “confronted in an extremely aggressive manner, attacked and injured”, a police report said.
A total of 19 police officers were left injured and 24 rioters arrested, according to city officials.
Stuttgart mayor Fritz Kuhn condemned the riots, branding the violence “unacceptable”.
He insisted “violence against emergency services is not tolerated”, claiming that the inexcusable actions of the rioters had crossed a line that neither alcohol nor the will to show on on social media could excuse.
Mr Kuhn added: “I was very shocked this morning when I learned about what happened overnight. Stuttgart has never witnessed a night like this, with such attacks on the police.”
According to police reports, officers were forced to push large crowds back using pepper spray.
At one point between 400 and 500 people were facing off with officers, hurling stones, bottles and other objects taken from a nearby building site.
Many of the rioters were hooded and masked.
At least 30 stores were damaged, nine reported looting and 12 police cars were “massively damaged”, the local government said in a statement.
The police said: “Vehicles were hit with poles, posts and windows were smashed.”