BERLIN -- Chancellor Helmut Kohl was pelted with eggs, tomatoes and paint during an appearance Friday in eastern Germany -- and at one point struck back at the protesters with his fists.
Kohl was hit on the head and upper body by eggs thrown by youths as he was about to enter the town hall in Halle.
Pushing aside security guards, Kohl wiped the egg from his face and suit, walked to supporters standing in front of the rioters and began shaking hands.
But the rioters forced their way to the front of the crowd and again began throwing eggs, balloons filled with paint and tomatoes at Kohl.
Kohl struck at the youths with his fists before security guards were able to pull him away from the crowd.
As Kohl left through a side entrance, his auto was surrounded by youths who pounded their fists on the armored limousine's roof and hood.
'The security precautions were miserable,' Kohl said later, blaming the incident on the interior minister of the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Wolfgang Braun, a member of the chancellor's Christian Democratic Union party.
'It should have been his duty to see to it that such a thing did not happen.'
Kohl said citizens of Halle were not responsible for the attack.
'I know well how to tell the difference between the residents of this city and a mob,' he said.
Earlier in the day, Kohl visted eastern Germany's troubled chemicals industry in the heavily polluted Bitterfeld region.
Kohl told appreciative employees at the Buna AG chemical plant that further government aid would be made available for restructuring the industry and cleaning up the region.
But he warned that the bloated formerly Communist-run chemicals sector would have to be reduced to its 'competitive core.'
The three chemical concerns in the region -- Buna AG, Leuna-Werke AG and Chemie AG Bitterfeld-Wolfen -- plan to get rid of 20 to 50 percent of their workers in the next two years.