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Soccer Fans, Local Toughs Attack Police After German Defeat

June 22, 1988

HAMBURG, West Germany (AP) _ West German soccer fans and local youth gangs attacked police with firebombs and stones in downtown Hamburg Tuesday night after the Netherlands’ victory over West Germany in the European Championships.

Police spokesman Bernd Metterhausen said 10 police officers were injured and at least 30 people arrested in running clashes that continued into the early hours Wednesday.

Two West German groups - including scores of right-wing extremists and rival leftists - also attacked each other, with police officers caught in the middle, police officials said.

On Tuesday afternoon radical West German right-wingers had distributed leaflets challenging Hamburg leftists to a fight that night.

Metterhausen said 1,000 West German soccer fans and skinheads, young toughs who shave their heads, massed in the Reeperbahn, a downtown area noted for pornographic displays and prostitution.

No Dutch fans were involved in the skirmishes, he said.

Police vans lined the area as 600 officers in riot gear restored order.

Metterhausen said the violence began shortly before midnight Tuesday, when fans returning from the match began attacking police officers.

″We were dealing with that incident when a gang of punks, who live in the harbor area of the city, came up to the Reeperbahn and also joined in,″ he said.

″The police were being attacked from both sides. They were being attacked with stones, metal balls launched with catapults, sticks and even Molotov cocktails,″ he added.

″Several police were hurt and two were taken to hospital after being hit on the head by missiles,″ Metterhausen said.

Eight other officers needed treatment for effects of tear gas, which the gangs threw at police.

Police, most in riot helmets and carrying shields, stood by as the fans and youths gathered in the Reeperbahn.

Also watching were several hundred Dutch fans, who were celebrating their 2-1 victory and appeared to be taking no part in the violence.

One said: ″When we entered the district, some people simply started pushing us, looking for trouble. That is when it all got out of hand.″

Another Dutch fan said: ″Pretty soon, police with dogs came on the scene to try to restore order.″

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