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The recession saw an increase in protests across Germany, but there were no reports of violence towards tourists. It's more about being cautious, to avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time and becoming an accidental target.
The most violently infamous protests in Germany would be the annual May 1 protests. May Day is traditionally marked by union rallies in many European countries, protesting about issues ranging from pension reforms to living standards.
Since 1987 when the Labour Day holiday protests began, police have learnt to brace themselves for car burning, and projectile hurling, as anti-capitalists and members from far right parties, labour unions and leftists march.
Hamburg and Berlin are the main cities for rioters - if you don't want to become a random attack victim, it's best to steer clear of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain in Berlin, where things more often than not, turn ugly.
Neo-Nazis have been known to harass or even attack people who they believe to be foreigners so this is NOT a spectator sport. Also, be warned, if you put yourself in the thick of things even just to have a look and take a few photos, you'd better be prepared to pay all your own medical bills and replace the camera the neo-Nazis smashed, because your travel insurance company will want to know why they should help you out when you deliberately put yourself in harm's way?
A number of smaller riots (warm-up protests!) occur throughout Spring in the lead-up to May Day, with posters blanketing major cities, and newspapers reporting them on a daily basis. So it's hard to get caught by surprise by the big demonstrations.
As well as May Day, most politically related events and holidays will draw some sort of demonstration. For example, the "Black Block," a loose movement of often violent anarchists, led angry demonstrations against the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg. More than 60,000 people took to the streets over 3 days to protest, set fire to vehicles, damage public property and clash with police.
This obviously wasn't something that police expected, but most public protests in Germany are given prior approval, and security is present. So as a tourist, you can check local media if you are travelling during political holidays, to make sure you won't be stepping into dangerous territory.
Other angry groups of Germans to avoid are football fans. Like most Europeans, football or soccer or whatever you want to call it is taken very seriously. Throw alcohol into the picture when you are faced with a group of disappointed fans, and you are asking for trouble. Skinheads tend to cause a lot of the soccer crowd violence, and are particularly aggressive to people who don't seem to be German.
This kind of thing will only really happen in the eastern parts of Germany. If you do get into trouble the emergency number for the police is 110.
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