German police using water cannons against protesters

Thousands rallied in Cologne on Sunday as supporters of the ‘Hooligans against Salafists’ far-right group and their left-wing opponents took to the streets. Police had to deploy a water cannon in an attempt to control the counter-protest.

Law enforcers had earlier sought to ban Sunday’s demonstration by the far-rights. However, a Cologne court dismissed the motion and said the protesters would have the right to gather at a fixed location, but they would not be allowed to march through the city’s streets.

Hundreds of anti-fascist demonstrators were also expected to confront the radicals. Heavy security presence was to make sure the two crowds would not go head-to-head.

Eventually, scuffles broke out between police and left-wingers and a water cannon was deployed in an attempt to push back the crowd, authorities said.

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The far-right rally was organized by the ‘Hooligans against Salafists’ group. The organization, which is also known as HOGESA, is made up of self-styled football hooligans, right-wingers and neo-Nazis.

Media estimates put the number of those attending the HOGESA protest at around 600 people.

A similar demonstration took place in Cologne last year and ended in violent clashes between protesters and the police. Dozens, both protesters and police among them, were injured in the violence.