Alec Empire tells NME: "The riot was already happening so we didn't need to play it any more"...

Atari Teenage Riot were arrested in Berlin after fighting broke out at an anti-war/anti-fascist rally they were playing at.

The band were performing at the rally in the Kreuzberg area of the city on May 1 when fighting broke out between police and the 30,000 protesters.

ATR were in the middle of their set when the violence erupted.


Frontman Alec Empire told NME: “This policeman was running into the crowd and beating this punk on the head with a stick. There was a point when it got so reckless that police attacked people without any reason. The police went for such brutality it was unbelievable.”

Rally organisers Anti-Fascist Action repeatedly asked the police to stop the violence during breaks in ATR‘s set, but the clashes escalated.

Eventually police cut the band’s power and arrested around 160 people including ATR‘s Alec Empire, Nic Endo and Carl Crack. The three members of ATR were arrested for “inciting violence against police”.

Empire said: “They cut the power off and we were like, ‘No, fuck, not now!’, because we wanted to play ‘Start The Riot’, but I suppose the riot was already happening so we didn’t need to play it any more.”

Soon after their arrest, the band made contact with Anti-Fascist Action lawyers and were released from custody later that day. It is unlikely any charges will be pressed.

It is the first time ATR have taken part in the annual rally, traditionally held as an anti-fascist event but this year also used as a means of protesting against NATO’s bombing of Serbia.


Empire said: “It’s unbelievable the role that England, Germany and America are trying to play in this conflict. These bombings are responsible for most of the people leaving Kosovo. In a way they are making the situation much worse and the majority of people are agreeing to these bombs.”

ATR are now planning more protests against the war in their native Germany.

The band will play this year’s Reading (August 28) and Leeds (29) festivals.

Tickets are available from nme.com‘s 24-hour ticketline on 0870 121 0125 or click here to go to our online gig guide and ticket service.

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