G-20 CLASHES leave dozens of police, activists injured.
HAMBURG, Germany — Anti-globalization activists clashed violently with police across the German port city of Hamburg all day Friday, setting cars ablaze, throwing bottles and trying to enter the convention center where Group of 20 leaders tackled topics such as international terrorism, climate change and trade.
Responding to a second day of protests, police ordered in more than 900 additional officers from across the country to get the clashes under control. At least 196 police officers were injured, dozens of activists had to be taken to the hospital, and more than 70 protesters were detained.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel condemned the violent protests as “unacceptable.”
“I have every understanding for peaceful demonstrations,” Merkel said. “But violent demonstrations endanger human lives, they endanger people themselves, they put police officers and security forces in danger, put residents in danger, and so that is unacceptable.”
Merkel thanked security forces for their work as G-20 leaders met behind a heavy police presence in a no-go zone that was off-limits to most.
It started early in the day: There were sit-down protests under a rainbow display of umbrellas. Students marched, calling for social justice. And some people took to a fleet of rubber boats, demanding solidarity with refugees.
Protesters were soon engaged in a cat-and-mouse game with police, who lined city streets to block off the areas where gatherings were taking place.
About 350 people tried to break through one police line, but they were pushed back with pepper spray and billy clubs, Hamburg police said.
Thousands of officers in full riot gear patrolled as many as 30 different protest marches. Most of the demonstrations were peaceful, but some rioters threw gasoline bombs, iron rods and cobblestones through the city.
As night fell, some lit fires in the streets of the city’s Schanzenviertel neighborhood.
In the nearby St. Pauli district, thousands of people danced in the streets to techno and live hip-hop music as the leaders of the G-20 nations listened to a classical concert at the city’s philharmonic under heavy police protection.
More than 20,000 officers were on hand to guard Hamburg’s streets, skies and waterways.
Police trucks blasted protesters back with water cannons, and officers dragged away members of a group holding a sit-in at the entrance to the summit grounds after they jeered and yelled at a convoy heading inside.
Anti-globalization protesters also kept U.S. first lady Melania Trump from joining the spouses of the other world leaders at the summit.
She scrapped a planned boat ride on the Elbe River after police refused to allow her to leave the guesthouse where she and President Donald Trump are staying, citing concerns for her safety. A planned tour of a climate research facility was also canceled because the experts who were to give the tour were unable to get there.
“She was very much looking forward to the day,” said Stephanie Grisham, a spokesman for Melania Trump.
Violence seemed to be escalating Friday evening as anti-globalization activists forced their way into a closed train station by bending open the iron gates. Police responded by deploying a water cannon outside the Landungsbruecke station.
Protesters repeatedly tried pushing into the no-go zone — among them a group of 22 swimmers from Greenpeace who tried to access the area from the Elbe River but didn’t succeed, police said.
Later Friday, activists also attempted to get near Hamburg’s highly protected philharmonic hall, where the international leaders were attending the concert and were to then have dinner together. Greenpeace boats blasted music toward the performance hall to disrupt the leaders’ meeting.
Police condemned the “shocking criminal energy and high potential of violence” on display and tweeted a photograph of an officer with a bloody wound that they said was caused by slingshot catapults.
While most of the injured officers were hurt only slightly, some had to be taken to the hospital, including an officer whose eye was injured when a firework went off in front of him.
The city’s Fire Department said 11 activists were severely injured and hospitalized after falling off a 13-foot-tall wall after fleeing from a confrontation with riot police.
Police could not say how many activists were injured in the clashes, but the Fire Department said that as of Friday morning it had taken 60 protesters to hospitals across the city.
Kathleen Mueller, a 56-year-old protester from Potsdam near Berlin, criticized police for what she said were “brutal responses” to overwhelmingly peaceful demonstrations.
Mueller said she’d gone to Hamburg to stop rampant consumerism and to tell leaders that “we need to … rethink our economic systems.” She said she saw riot police wrenching apart a peaceful human chain and dragging people off.
Hamburg resident Kursat Bayazit, 42, expressed frustrations with both the summit and the demonstrations keeping him from getting to his work as a landscaper.
“Yesterday, there were big problems,” Bayazit said while taking a stroll with his 2-yearold daughter in the St. Pauli neighborhood, which had seen heavy clashes Thursday night.
However, not all St. Pauli residents seemed to share Bayazit’s frustration regarding the chaos overtaking Hamburg during the G-20 summit.
Few had their stores and homes boarded up and some residents seemed to welcome the protesters. Three young men wearing anti-summit T-shirts listened to reggae music on their balcony.
Police use water cannons to clear protesters from a road Friday in Hamburg, Germany.