Police in Stuttgart, Germany, have announced the arrest of 228 rioters following unrest near an Eritrean cultural festival on Saturday. The rioters gathered and attacked festivalgoers and police officers, resulting in injuries to 27 officers. The festival was organized by an Eritrean cultural association. All those arrested have Eritrean citizenship or are of Eritrean descent. German police believe they are members of the Eritrean opposition critical of President Isaias Afwerki. Most suspects came from surrounding districts, with 63 of them coming from Switzerland. Investigations have been initiated on suspicion of breach of the peace, physical assault, damage to property, bodily harm, and theft. Emergency services from various locations were deployed to control the riot.
In addition to reporting the incident, it is worth noting that many Eritreans have fled their country to the West since the outbreak of conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region in November 2020. The Eritrean government implemented forced conscription to support its military operation in the conflict and punished the family members of draft dodgers. The international community called for Eritrean forces to leave Tigray in August after a peace agreement was reached between Ethiopia, Tigray, and Eritrea in November 2022.