Officers detained a 49-year-old man during a protest of Querdenker (opponents of corona restrictions) and while looking at his identification, the man complained of tingling in his arm and chest Sunday afternoon. Officers immediately administered first aid but he later died in hospital.
Standard procedures call for the death to be investigated with an autopsy scheduled for Monday, according to police.
Police and courts had previously banned the planned gatherings of the Querdenker but thousands showed up to protest on Berling streets anyway. Police and protestors clashed repeatedly and police spokesman Thilo Cablitz told local public broadcaster rbb that officers arrested nearly 600 in connection with the demonstrations. An estimated 5,000 protested against the government's corona policies and repeatedly gathered throughout the city.
Early Sunday officers were focused on an impromptu party in James Simon - as well as the adjacent Monbijou - park. About 2,500 revelers gathered to celebrated into Sunday and greeted responding officers with bottles and stones.
The police responsed started after a group allegedly involved in a scuffle used knives and machetes, according to sensationalist tabloid Bild. Two revelers were reportedly left with related wounds and police and emergency vehicles were also attacked.
Breaking up the parties in the Mitte parks then led to injuries for 19 officers , police said. About 30 officers went to James Simon Park shortly before 3am to investigate the initial assault but were then attacked by the crowd. One officer was reportedly seriously injured during this initial attack after he was kneed. The officer was transported to hospital and 12 people were arrested.
Eventually 100 officers arrived and by 4am only about 50 partiers were left in the park. Those arrested were released but face charges of breach of peace, assault, insults and at least one instance of narcotics violations, police said.
"I will no longer accept that almost every week civil war-like conditions break out in our parks and on our streets," Berlin CDU politician Kai Wegner said in a release. He called for Andreas Geisel (SPD), the governing minister responsible for security, to increase police presence in relevant places.
Wegner also pushed for corona-compliant party alternatives for the city's youth.
Benjamin Jendro, head of Berlin's police union, criticised the city's politicians for being aware of the problem for over a year but doing nothing about it.