Plans to fell 300 trees to make way for the german city’s multi-billion euro rail infrastructure project ended in clashes between police and demonstrators.
“This is to teach people a lesson, namely that they have no valid comment to make. The German police have never behaved like this before.” was the reaction of one protestor.
There are claims the police used excessive force to quell the protest.
“We are peaceful, what are you?” chanted the crowd.
Water cannon and tear gas were used. The authorities say some protesters threw stones at the police. But their actions were in vain as the trees began to tumble as night fell.
“I think the trees were felled to show us that there can be no going back. It was meant to demoralise us but I don’t think they will succeed.” said another protestor.
The protests have now grown into a national issue.
Latest polls suggest that, for the first time in decades, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives could lose their majority in the state’s upcoming elections as a result.