More than 90 German police injured in May Day riots
BERLIN — At least 93 police officers were injured and 354 protesters were detained after traditional May Day rallies in Berlin turned violent, the city’s top security official said Sunday.
More than 20 different rallies took place in the German capital on Saturday and the vast majority of them were peaceful. However, a leftist march of 8,000 people through the city’s Neukoelln and Kreuzberg neighborhood, which has seen clashes in past decades, turned violent. Protesters threw bottles and rocks at officers, and burned garbage cans and wooden pallets in the streets.
“Violence against police officers and a blind, destructive rage has nothing to do with political protest,” Berlin state interior minister Andreas Geisel said.
Geisel condemned the throwing of bottles and rocks, the burning barricades on the streets and especially the violence toward police.
“The high number of injured officer leaves me stunned. I wish all of those who were injured in the line of duty a quick recovery,” he said.
There’s a nightly curfew in most parts of Germany because of the high number of coronavirus infections, but political protests and religious gatherings are exempt from the curfew.
In France, May Day marches in Paris and the southern city of Lyon were also marred by scattered violence, with riot officers targeted by small groups of violent demonstrators who tossed projectiles and trash bins. Police made 56 arrests — 46 of them in Paris, the Interior Ministry said Sunday. It said six officers suffered injuries, three of them in Paris.
N. Korea warns U.S. of ‘very grave situation’ over speech
SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Sunday warned that the United States will face “a very grave situation” and alleged that President Joe Biden “made a big blunder” in his recent speech by calling the North a security threat.
Last week, Biden, in his first address to Congress, called North Korea and Iran’s nuclear programs “serious threats” to American and world security and said he’ll work with allies to address those problems through diplomacy and stern deterrence.
“His statement clearly reflects his intent to keep enforcing the hostile policy toward the DPRK as it had been done by the U.S. for over half a century,” Kwon Jong Gun, a senior North Korean Foreign Ministry official, said in a statement. DPRK stands for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the North’s official name.
“It is certain that the U.S. chief executive made a big blunder in the light of the present-day viewpoint,” Kwon said. “Now that the keynote of the U.S. new DPRK policy has become clear, we will be compelled to press for corresponding measures, and with time the U.S. will find itself in a very grave situation.”
Kwon still didn’t specify what steps North Korea would take, and his statement could be seen as an effort to apply pressure on the Biden administration as it’s shaping up its North Korea policy.
Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said Sunday that U.S. policy is “not aimed at hostility, it’s aimed at solutions” and at “ultimately achieving the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
“And we’re prepared to engage in diplomacy towards that ultimate objective, but work on practical measures that can help us make progress along the way towards that goal,” Sullivan said on ABC’s “This Week.”
High jinx: New bridge is not for the faint-hearted
AROUCA, Portugal — It’s probably best if you gird yourself before you look down from the Arouca Bridge.
The narrow footbridge suspended across a river canyon in northern Portugal claims to be the world’s longest pedestrian bridge and was officially inaugurated Sunday.
The Arouca Bridge offers an almost 1,700-foot walk across its span, along a metal walkway suspended from cables. Some 574 feet below, the Paiva River flows through a waterfall.
Arouca lies 186 miles north of Lisbon, the Portuguese capital. Local residents got a first walk on the bridge last week. Many were thrilled — even as some admitted it was a little unnerving to feel so high up and exposed.
Guinness World Records says on its website that the world’s longest suspension bridge for pedestrians is Japan’s Kokonoe Yume Bridge, which opened in 2006 and spans 1,280 feet. But the Charles Kuonen Suspension Bridge, which opened in the Swiss Alps in 2017, challenges that mark at 1,621 feet.
The Arouca Bridge cost $2.8 million to build. Children under age 6 are not allowed on it and all visits will be accompanied by guides.
Chinese tourists to take 18M rail trips on May Day
BEIJING — Chinese tourists are expected to make a total of 18.3 million railway passenger trips on the first day of the country’s five-day holiday for international labor day, according to an estimate by the state railway group. Tourists are rushing to travel domestically after the coronavirus has been brought under control in China.
The May Day holiday, which runs from May 1 to 5, is the first long break for Chinese tourists since the beginning of the year, when a domestic outbreak of the coronavirus before the Lunar New Year holidays in February cancelled travel plans for many after the government advised people to refrain from traveling.
Before the pandemic, the Labor Day holiday often saw Chinese tourists travelling internationally to countries in Europe and Southeast Asia. But border closures and travel restrictions mean tourists are traveling domestically this year.
Additionally, some 60 million vehicles are expected to hit the roads during the Labor Day holiday, China’s Transport Ministry said earlier this week. In total, tourists are estimated to make 265 million trips.
— The Associated Press