Rioting breaks out at festival in southern German town

Police in the southern German town of Schorndorf have increased their presence after violence at a public festival. At least two cases of sexual harassment were reported.

Authorities in the town of Schorndorf in the German state of Baden-Württemberg have called in more police to supervise a festival following riots and at least two cases of women being sexually harrassed over the weekend.

Guests and police were attacked with bottles thrown from a crowd of some 1,000 young people during the night to Sunday, police said. They said groups of 30 to 60 rioters then left the castle park where the festival was taking place and continued to make trouble in the center of the town.

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A police spokesman said on Monday that the violence against officers was "horrifying," adding that the aggression had taken on a new quality. He said the excessive consumption of alcohol had played a large role in the violence.

Society | 05.01.2017

Police said a number of the young people present were of a migrant background.

Read: German media respond to new rules on reporting ethnicity of criminals

Deutschland Pressekonferenz zu Vorfällen in Schorndorf

Police announced they would increase the number of officers at the festival

Sexual attacks

Two young women, one aged 25 and the other 17, were also sexually harrassed at the festival, according to police. A 20-year-old Iraqi man was being questioned in connection with the first case, while three Afghan asylum seekers aged from 18 to 20 were detained over the second.

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The mayor of Schorndorf, Matthias Klopfer, expressed his sympathy with the victims of the harrassment, saying such attacks were "not trivial offenses."

Deutschland Silvesternacht vor dem Hauptbahnhof in Köln

The events in Cologne shocked Germany

Police have called on anyone else who was the victim of similar attacks to come forward.

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The issue of sexual harrassment has become increasingly sensitive in Germany in the wake of mass attacks on women in the western city of Cologne and other cities on New Year's Eve 2015/2016.

The festival in Schorndorf, which began on Friday, is due to end on Tuesday.

Munich's Oktoberfest

The undisputed largest festival in Germany is the Oktoberfest. Every year, over six million guests come to party the Bavarian way. Most head straight to the beer tents, even lining up in the early morning hours to grab one of the coveted seats, as here in the Augustiner tent.

The biggest kermess on the Rhine

Beer tents and brass bands aren't limited to Bavaria. North Rhine-Westphalia, too, can boast festivals that bring down the house. The biggest is the Kermess on the Rhine, with annual crowds numbering a good four million. The festival lasts ten days through the third week of July. Rides like the ferris wheel, log flumes and roller coasters are the funfair highlights.

Cranger Kermess

Fifty attractions and five whole kilometers of booths and concessions make up North Rhine-Westphalia's second largest festival. The Cranger Kermess in the Ruhr Valley city of Herne tallies annual guest figures of close to four million. It goes on for 10 days, starting the first Friday in August. A special feature is the horse market and show the day before opening.

Bremen Free Fair

The Bremen Free Fair looks back on a long history. Emperor Conrad II granted Bremen the right to hold the fair in 1035, allowing farmers, craftsmen and traders to sell their wares in the town center with no special restrictions. Now, almost a millennium later, the Free Fair runs for 17 days in October and includes a procession, booths and fairground rides.

Hamburger Dom

As with the Bremen Free Fair, the origins of the Hamburger Dom date back to the 11th century, when traders, craftsmen and jesters set up a market in and around the Hamburg Cathedral. The original building no longer exists, but the reveling lived on and grew into a festival that draws around four million partiers three times a year: The Hamburger Dom is held in spring, summer and winter.

Cannstatter Volksfest

Bavaria's neighbor Baden-Württemberg has its own big bash: The Cannstatter Volksfest, also drawing crowds of some four million every year in late September and early October. The 35-hectare fairgrounds, called the "Wasen," are in Stuttgart's Bad Cannstatt quarter. King William I of Württemberg and his Russian wife Katharina launched the festival in 1818.

Kiel Week

The Kiel Week is an international sailing event and one of Germany's biggest festivals. It takes place during the last week of June in the Baltic port city, roping in some 3.5 million landlubbers every year. The climax is the windjammer parade of about 100 historical and tall ships. There are booths, rides and live shows on shore.

Libori

Over 1.6 million people come together to celebrate the Libori Festival in Paderborn in late July. It's a blend of church festival, kermess, culture, performances and flea market. The celebration has its origin in the translation of the relics of Saint Liborius of Le Mans to Paderborn in the year 836 C.E.

Hamburg Port Anniversary

The Hamburg Port Anniversary is the world's biggest port festival with a program of events for land, sea and air. Every year in May, around 1.5 million people throng the waterfront to celebrate. Special highlights include the fireworks, ship christenings and parades. This year, the port of Hamburg turned 827 years old.

Marksmen's Fair in Hanover

The world's biggest marksmen's festival is held every year in Hanover to celebrate the end of the municipal shooting competitions. For ten days, about a million people crowd into the fairgrounds. The high point is the parade of the marksmen (pictured here). But even the anti-gun lobby can find plenty to do here - if simply partying isn't enough.

tj/rt (dpa, AFP)

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