G-20 PROTESTS peace­ful af­ter overnight ri­ots.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - DAVID RIS­ING In­for­ma­tion for this ar­ti­cle was con­trib­uted by Kirsten Grieshaber of The Associated Press.

HAMBURG, Ger­many — Tens of thou­sands of peace­ful protesters took to the streets to demon­strate against the Group of 20 sum­mit in Hamburg on Satur­day, hours af­ter masked ri­ot­ers clashed with po­lice, burned cars and looted busi­nesses.

Marching on a route close to where some of the worst vi­o­lence un­folded overnight, protesters chanted, sang, danced and played mu­sic as world lead­ers wrapped up their two-day sum­mit in the Ger­man port city.

An eclec­tic crowd of fam­i­lies push­ing baby car­riages, Kur­dish groups, Scot­tish so­cial­ists and an­ar­chists wav­ing flags and shout­ing anti-cap­i­tal­ist slo­gans pro­gressed through the city ac­com­pa­nied by thou­sands of po­lice of­fi­cers.

De­spite the may­hem late Fri­day and early Satur­day, many of­fi­cers pa­trolling the march re­moved their hel­mets and ap­peared re­laxed as the crowds passed by. Or­ga­niz­ers said about 78,000 demon­stra­tors par­tic­i­pated, while po­lice es­ti­mated the crowds at about 50,000.

The gath­er­ing came af­ter ri­ots overnight in the city’s Schanzen­vier­tel neigh­bor­hood, which is only a few hun­dred yards away from the sum­mit grounds. Hun­dreds of spe­cial riot po­lice went into build­ings to ar­rest ri­ot­ers wear­ing black masks from rooftops while be­ing at­tacked with iron rods and Molo­tov cock­tails. About 500 peo­ple looted a su­per­mar­ket in the neigh­bor­hood as well as smaller stores. Cars were torched and street fires lit as ac­tivists built bar­ri­cades with garbage cans and bikes.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel ex­pressed shock and anger about “vi­o­lence and un­in­hib­ited bru­tal­ity” that broke out in Hamburg.

“There is not the slight­est jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for loot­ing, ar­son and bru­tal at­tacks on the life of po­lice of­fi­cers,” Merkel said, adding that the se­cu­rity forces did “ex­cel­lent” work and thank­ing them on be­half of all the sum­mit par­tic­i­pants.

A few thou­sand ri­ot­ers, some of them from else­where in Europe, cre­ated havoc in the city. They bat­tled riot po­lice for two con­sec­u­tive days and nights, ex­press­ing rage against cap­i­tal­ism and glob­al­iza­tion and call­ing for open bor­ders to let all refugees en­ter Europe.

Their anger was not so much fo­cused against Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump or other lead­ers, but di­rected against po­lice as sym­bols of author­ity.

Po­lice ar­rested 143 peo­ple, and 122 ac­tivists were tem­po­rar­ily de­tained. Since the protests be­gan Thurs­day night, 213 of­fi­cers were in­jured. Po­lice and fire­fight­ers said they did not have in­for­ma­tion about how many protesters and other civil­ians were hurt.

Hamburg, Ger­many’s second-largest city, has a strong rad­i­cal left scene, and many crit­ics had warned well be­fore the sum­mit that its dense streets would be al­most im­pos­si­ble to con­trol and that clashes would be likely.

But, Ger­man In­te­rior Min­is­ter Thomas de Maiziere said, “any crit­i­cism of the lo­ca­tion of the meet­ing mis­judges cause and ef­fect.”

“Th­ese were un­bounded vi­o­lent ex­cesses out of a de­sire for de­struc­tion and bru­tal­ity,” de Maiziere said. He added that po­lice and ju­di­cial au­thor­i­ties must take a tough stance against such crimes and that the ar­rests were ap­pro­pri­ate.

Merkel also de­fended the choice of Hamburg as the venue for the sum­mit, say­ing a big city was needed to ac­com­mo­date all the par­tic­i­pants at ho­tels. She said she and her fi­nance min­is­ter would con­sult with Hamburg’s city gov­ern­ment how they can help peo­ple af­fected by the vi­o­lence re­pair the dam­age.

Many res­i­dents, how­ever, showed frus­tra­tion with the vi­o­lence and de­struc­tion un­leashed in their neigh­bor­hood.

Laura Ze­ri­adtke watched the clashes un­fold from her street-level apart­ment win­dow and wit­nessed about 30 black-clad an­ar­chists tear­ing down a con­struc­tion fence across from her home and us­ing it as a shield to push back riot po­lice.

“It was a civil war,” Ze­ri­adtke said.

Lud­wig Geiss, a 65-yearold, long­time res­i­dent liv­ing in the same build­ing as Ze­ri­adtke, said he’d got­ten used to the many protests in the neigh­bor­hood, but had never ex­pe­ri­enced any­thing like the G-20 chaos.

“I know the scene, but what hap­pened yes­ter­day … puts it all in the shad­ows,” Geiss said as he was eval­u­at­ing the dam­age out­side his apart­ment. “I’m not stay­ing here an­other night.”

Po­lice called on wit­nesses of the ri­ots to up­load photos and video footage on their server to help with the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion of vi­o­lent ac­tivists.

How­ever, most protesters ex­pressed their views peace­fully, ask­ing for quick ac­tion on climate change and so­lu­tions to the mi­gra­tion cri­sis.

Dur­ing the protest marches Satur­day af­ter­noon, ac­tivists of the At­tac group rolled a gi­ant globe along the road, while oth­ers car­ried signs with slo­gans such as, “Money For Bread, Not Bombs” and “We are many, you are 20.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.