Ham­burg counts cost of nights of vi­o­lence and loot­ing

The Guardian Weekly - - International news - Philip Ol­ter­mann

When world lead­ers de­parted at the end of the sum­mit in Ham­burg they left be­hind a city shaken by two nights of ri­ot­ing, loot­ing and trans­port chaos. Many res­i­dents asked why their gov­ern­ment had de­cided to hold the sum­mit in a city with a strong tra­di­tion of counter-cul­tural protest. Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel said sum­mits had been held in other big cities and Ham­burg could not have “shirked re­spon­si­bil­ity”.

An es­ti­mated 50,000 peo­ple took part in the big­gest of sev­eral protest marches in Ham­burg last Satur­day. It brought peace­fully to­gether mem­bers of an­ar­chist, so­cial­ist, anti-glob­al­i­sa­tion, green, fem­i­nist and Kur­dish na­tion­al­ist groups. How­ever, masked an­ar­chists had torched cars and smashed shop fronts in the Al­tona district last Fri­day. Then the ac­tion moved to the Schanzen­vier­tel quar­ter, home to many of the marchers. For hours the 15,000-strong po­lice force ap­peared to have lost con­trol as ri­ot­ers built and set fire to bar­ri­cades, pulled slabs out of the pave­ment and looted shops. Many were in­jured and around 100 ar­rested.

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