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Frankfurt riots
Frankfurt descends into chaos as "Blockupy" storm the cityvia Twitter / @alauraschneider

Violent anti-austerity riots hit Frankfurt

Protesters throw stones and set police cars on fire as the city descends into chaos

Riots have besieged the German city of Frankfurt as anti-capitalist protesters hit out at austerity and the opening of a new European Central Bank on Wednesday. Clashes between police and protesters were severe, with an estimated 350 people arrested and many injured. Those protesters detained are being questioned on suspicion of breaching the public peace. There are unconfirmed reports that 88 police officers have been injured, with CNN reporting that 80 of those were injured when an unknown substance was poured on them. Eight were hurt by stone missiles.

Activists operating under the name "Blockupy" set police cars alight and threw stones at police clad in riot gear just hours before the European Central Bank was set to open. The movement is angry at the bank's role in pushing anti-austerity measures in other EU countries such as Greece. Police set up a barbed wire cordon around the new bank in order to prevent protesters accessing the building.

The Blockupy movement is comprised of protesters not just from Frankfurt but from other cities in Germany and neighbouring European countries. It's estimated that the group is 10,000 strong. A Blockupy representative told CNN that the group condemns the violence but the clashes show that the situation is reaching breaking point.

"Blockupy is clearly against violence," she said. "Obviously, there are people that go against what we intended for this day. It is not what we planned, but it shows people are very angry about the austerity policies."

Initially the movement's hope had simply been to blockade the bank and disrupt the flow of capitalism. Despite the riots, the bank did open as planned. Austerity is a huge issue across the Eurozone, a region with a stilted economy, high levels of unemployment and a weak Euro.