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Police Cars Set On Fire During Frankfurt Anti-Capitalist Protests

Protesters and police clashed at anti-austerity protests outside the new headquarters of the European Central Bank.

Last updated on March 18, 2015, at 10:00 a.m. ET

Posted on March 18, 2015, at 7:22 a.m. ET

Police cars were set on fire amid chaotic scenes during anti-capitalist protests in Frankfurt, Germany, early Wednesday, the Associated Press reported.

Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

More than 10,000 protesters with the so-called Blockupy movement aimed to disrupt the inauguration ceremony of the European Central Bank's (ECB) new 1.3-billion-euro ($1.4 billion) headquarters in the city, according to Reuters.

Michael Probst / AP

Police said two officers were injured after having stones thrown at them. Thousands more police in riot gear pursued what they described as a minority of violent protesters out of thousands, AP reported.

Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Two police cars were set alight near a police station in central Frankfurt, while another police vehicle burned near the ECB building.

Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters
Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

Protesters also set up burning barricades in the streets surrounding the ECB building.

Odd Andersen / Getty Images

By early Wednesday afternoon, police said that 350 people had been arrested during the protests, the BBC reported.

Simon Hofmann / Getty Images

A police barricade was set up to block the entrance to the bank. A water cannon was used to disperse protesters, according to Reuters.

Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

The Blockupy movement is named after the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement. Thousands came from other parts of Europe, protest leader Ulrich Wilken told Reuters.

Michael Dalder / Reuters

Wilken said Blockupy wanted an end to an austerity politics, and was demonstrating against the role of the "troika" – the ECB, the International Monetary Fund, and the European Commission – in enforcing them on European nations who received bailouts:

Our protest is against the ECB, as a member of the troika, that, despite the fact that it is not democratically elected, hinders the work of the Greek government. We want the austerity politics to end.

We want a loud but peaceful protest.

Police spokesperson Claudia Rogalski described the mood among protesters as "aggressive," according to Reuters.

Ralph Orlowski / Reuters

"We've had stone throwing, burning rubbish bins and seven police cars were damaged, many set on fire," Rogalski said.

Kai Pfaffenbach / Reuters

ECB head Mario Draghi was due to make his speech at the bank at 11 a.m. local time (6 a.m. ET).

Reuters Staff / Reuters