Trudeau to appeal to G20 protesters as chaos reigns in Hamburg before meetings
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s sunny ways will be tested over the next few days amid tensions both inside and outside the gates of the G20 summit in Germany.
Trudeau arrived in the northern port city of Hamburg just hours before U.S. President Donald Trump, whose protectionist rhetoric and stance against climate change action pose a threat to much of the G20’s recent progress.
But in the minutes after Trudeau touched down, all the focus was on his three-year-old son, Hadrien.
After descending from the plane while swinging from his parents’ arms, Hadrien walked proudly down the red carpet clutching the bouquet of flowers German officials initially presented to his mother, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau.
It was a fun diversion to kick off Trudeau’s visit to Germany, but will likely be the last easygoing moment of the next few tension-filled days.
Tens of thousands of antiglobalization protesters have descended on the city to disrupt the meetings, and have already set fire to a Porsche dealership.
Trudeau has been called on to appeal to the protesters at Thursday night’s rock concert in Hamburg, where he will give a short speech promoting the benefits of global co-operation beyond corporations and the world’s richest citizens.
Inside the meetings, tensions will flare around everything from climate change to free trade deals, but much of the action is expected in one-on-one meetings between various leaders — to say nothing of the muchanticipated Friday head-to-head between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Trump was to meet later Thursday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, with whom he shares a fractious relationship. Merkel has made no secret of her plan to isolate Trump and his anti-climate change stance during the meetings.
Police have cordoned off the zone around the convention centre where the meeting will take place; 20,000 officers are in Hamburg to try and control the melee.
Fences topped with razor wire surround the zone, as well as the railway tracks that lead through it, while officers stand sentry on every street around the facility.
The protesters have labelled their event “G20: Welcome to Hell” and hope to cut off access to the site, knowing full well they won’t be able to keep the leaders out. Officials and media crews aiming to cover the event might not be so lucky.
The concert at the Global Citizens Festival, which is calling for an end to extreme global poverty by 2030, will see Trudeau introduce the band Coldplay, as well as speak directly to protesters and protectionists about the benefits of globalization to small business and working people.
It was a message he delivered in Ireland earlier this week and one he has pushed since becoming prime minister.
Argentine President Mauricio Macri and Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg are also on the agenda for the concert.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau his wife Sophie Gregoire and their son Hadrien wave as they arrive for the G20 summit Thursday in Hamburg, Germany.