Police, protesters clash during May Day rallies in Berlin

a group of people wearing costumes: May Day demonstration in Berlin © Reuters/AXEL SCHMIDT May Day demonstration in Berlin

By Christian Mang

BERLIN (Reuters) - At least 5,000 protesters took to the streets on Saturday during May Day rallies in Berlin, clashing with police and injuring three officers, police said.

a group of people that are standing in the dark: May Day demonstration in Berlin © Reuters/AXEL SCHMIDT May Day demonstration in Berlin

The injuries occurred after some demonstrators threw fireworks, bottles and rocks in protests over social inequality. About 5,600 police were deployed, and some responded with pepper spray in what marked the second May Day protests since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

a group of people walking down the street: May Day protests in Berlin © Reuters/CHRISTIAN MANG May Day protests in Berlin

Turnout was higher than last year even though social distancing requirements remain in place.

Protests hit other European capitals too, most notably Paris, where police made 46 arrests as garbage bins were set on fire and the windows of a bank branch were smashed.

In Berlin, police used water cannons to extinguish fires as protesters set ablaze waste bins and barricades.

Demonstrations also took place in several other German cities, including Hamburg and Leipzig, despite Europe's largest economy grappling with a third wave of the pandemic.

a group of people in a dark room with smoke and fire hydrant: May Day protests in Berlin © Reuters/CHRISTIAN MANG May Day protests in Berlin

Earlier, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 18,935 to 3,400,532.

(Writing by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

Police, protesters clash during May Day rallies in Berlin