GENEVA: – Dozens of masked radicals clashed with police and set cars, trees and trash bins on fire in central Zurich late Friday, sending terrified diners fleeing in the upscale and normally tranquil neighbourhood, police said.
Police fired rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannon to disperse some 200 people, many of them armed with iron bars and wearing masks, who threw rocks and projectiles at police in a rampage that caused hundreds of thousands of euros worth of damage and that police said was claimed by left-wing radicals.
The marauders gathered around 10:00 pm, hurling rocks at police officers, setting a police vehicle on fire and stealing law enforcement equipment before reinforcements arrived, the local police said in a statement.
Trees, cars and trash bins on the streets were set ablaze by the hooligans, who also shattered storefronts and the window of a crowded restaurant, sending terrified diners fleeing to the basement and the back of the eatery.
Police managed to restore order by midnight.
Four men — two Swiss, and nationals of Britain and Liechtenstein — have been arrested on suspicion of participating in the unrest.
Zurich, Switzerland’s largest city, is a major financial hub hosting numerous banking giants and is one of Europe’s wealthiest cities.