Over 100 police officers injured in anti-G20 protest
Hamburg, July 7 (IANS): At least 111 police officers were injured and 44 demonstrators were arrested on Friday during a protest against the G20 summit slated to be held here, authorities said.
In addition, some individuals allegedly carried out sabotage actions against train tracks and attempted to block access to the convention centre where the summit will be held, reports Efe news.
Hamburg police said that objects had been detected on the tracks at a train station, which affected the transit of some rail services.
Police sources said groups of people had been seen at various points in the city trying to continue the protest that started on Thursday and went on until after midnight, while several cars were burned in Hamburg’s Altona district.
Early Friday morning, there were sit-ins on the roadway by groups of people dressed in bright colours who tried to obstruct the passage of traffic to the area where the summit takes place.
Thursday’s “Welcome to Hell” march, which included about a thousand hooded activists, was stopped by riot police with water cannons in an attempt to break up the demonstration.
About 12,000 protestors had gathered at a square in the St. Pauli neighbourhood in the early afternoon with plans to march to within 300 metres of Hamburg’s Messehallen Convention Centre, where the leaders of the world’s 20 major economies are set to inaugurate their annual summit.
As the march started, bottles and other objects were thrown at riot police, who had been deployed to control violent factions within the crowds.
The majority of demonstrators were peaceful.
After police received reports of burning cars and an assault on their spokesperson Timo Zill, the most severe incidents began: officers were attacked, barricades were erected, and shop windows were smashed.
“Citizens’ rights are being hijacked by a group that represents no one but capital,” activist Andreas Blechschmidt told Efe news ahead of the march. “We are not content to protest against the G20: we want to prevent it from being celebrated.”
German security services estimated that up to 8,000 demonstrators who were prepared for violence had travelled to Hamburg for the summit, which this year is chaired by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and has US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping attending, among others.
The German government mobilised some 19,000 police officers to provide security for the summit and officials have banned anyone but residents and authorized personnel from entering a large section of the northern port city.