Berlin's police chief Barbara Slowik on Sunday hit out at violent attacks on police officers during May Day protests a day earlier, describing them as “unacceptable.”
The rallies, to mark International Workers' Day rallies, had gone ahead without incident during the day, involving up to 30,000 people.
But by evening, tensions rose when police pulled far-left protesters out of the crowd for not adhering to pandemic hygiene regulations such as social distancing.
Heavy scuffles ensued, with protesters throwing glass bottles and stones at police and setting dustbins and wooden pallets ablaze in the streets.
DW journalist Elliot Douglas tweeted photos from the scene of one of the fires, in the suburb of Neukölln shortly before curfew.
The fire brigade was brought in, and police used water cannon, to extinguish the fires.
Several officers injured, hundreds arrested
More than 50 officers were injured by the time the protest was broken up, the German police union said.
More than 250 people were arrested.
Slowik admitted the "situation did degenerate but was quickly brought under control."
The German capital had deployed around 5,600 officers on Saturday to monitor the May Day protests, which have turned violent in the past.
Similar protests took place elsewhere in Germany and around the world, some of which also descended into skirmishes.
In Paris, police fired tear gas at protesters who smashed windows of bank branches, set fire to dustbins and threw projectiles at police.