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Zurich riot police tackle vandals wreaking havoc

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Zurich riot police tackle vandals wreaking havoc
More than 200 rioters are believed to have taken part in the violence. Photo: Jan Müller/Aurka.com
12:18 CET+01:00
UPDATED: An estimated 200 masked men went on the rampage in a normally quiet part of Zurich on Friday night, with police forced to fire tear gas and water cannons to gain control of the situation.

Police fired tear gas and water cannon in central Zurich late Friday to disperse the group who attacked officers and set cars, trees and trash bins on fire, sending terrified residents fleeing in the upscale and normally tranquil neighbourhoods.

The rioters, many of them armed with iron bars, threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at police in a rampage that left hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage and that police said was claimed by left-wing radicals.

Police also described the group as "extremely violent anarchists". 

The marauders gathered outside the Wiedikon train station in Zurich's district 3 around 10pm, hurling stones at police officers, setting a police vehicle on fire and stealing law enforcement equipment before reinforcements arrived, city police said in a statement.

Trees, cars and trash bins on the streets were set ablaze by the hooligans, who also shattered storefronts and the window of a crowded restaurant, sending terrified diners fleeing to the basement and the back of the eatery.

"We don't want to leave our city to freeholders, to money, to capitalists or public-private-partnership-nations or any other oppressing authorities," the activists wrote on the website Indymedia. 
 
"We want a city which is allowed to live, be loud, chaotic and exciting."
 
The group moved from Wiedikon to Aussersihl (District 4) where they left a trail of destruction and graffiti along the Langstrasse and other streets. 
 
The words "all cops are bastards" were sprayed in English on the storefront of one business, the Tages Anzeiger newspaper reported.
 

Seven officers, including a policewoman, were injured and sent to hospital as a result of the unrest before police managed to restore order around midnight.

"Many of them were armed with iron bars, some wore masks and gas masks and protective clothing," the police said in a statement.

Four men — two Swiss, and nationals of Britain and Liechtenstein — have been arrested on suspicion of participating in the unrest.

Zurich, Switzerland's largest city, is a major financial hub hosting numerous banking giants and is one of Europe's wealthiest cities.

* Photos used with permission of Aurka.com 

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