The five officers were called to the scene of a fight between two teenagers by the Tinguely fountain in central Basel on the night of Saturday to Sunday, police spokesman Martin Schütz told 20 Minutes on Tuesday.
One of the youths started being very aggressive towards the officers when they tried to intervene, he said.
Noticing what was going on, some 200 revellers who were hanging around the area at the time suddenly started to attack the police officers.
“The five officers were insulted and threatened and bottles were thrown at them. The attack was so violent that the officers had to use pepper spray to defend themselves,” said Schütz, adding that the spray was used on the ground not on the attackers themselves.
The officers were only able to arrest the two youths involved in the original incident and one other person. All they could hope for was to get away, said Schütz.
“In that type of situation it's impossible to know who has committed what crime or to arrest anyone else,” he said.
Contacted by 20 Minutes, VSPB general secretary Max Hofmann said people in authority are no longer respected.
Though the VSPB does all it can to protect officers, “it's simply not possible that five officers can take on 200 people” he told the paper.
The organization is now calling for those who attack police officers to receive a minimum penalty of ten days in prison.
“It doesn't do anything if the perpetrators only get a fine. It's far from being a deterrent.”