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Activists try to disrupt start of G-20 summit, police react

Activists try to disrupt start of G-20 summit, police react

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HAMBURG, Germany (AP) — Anti-globalization activists set dozens of cars ablaze and tried to block leaders’ delegations from entering the grounds of the Group of 20 summit Friday, a second day of protests as the meeting got underway in the German port city of Hamburg. Responding to the violence, police ordered in several hundred more officers from across the country.

Hundreds of officers built moving lines in different parts of Hamburg and used water cannons to force away protesters from streets across the city. Some were physically moved for hundreds of meters (yards) from a protest sit-in in front of the first security checkpoint near the summit grounds.

Police later tweeted that all leaders made it safely to the city’s convention center where the summit is taking place. None of the activists managed to push into the no-go zone police had established around the summit.

The leaders, including German host Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin and many others, were to discuss issues like fighting international terrorism, but also tackle more contentious topics like climate change and international trade. Activists took to the streets to protest globalization, economic inequality and what they see as a lack of action on climate change.

Early Friday, activists shot firecrackers at a police helicopter and only narrowly missed it, police said. Windows at the Mongolian consulate were also broken and the tires of a car belonging to the Canadian delegation were punctured.

Skirmishes and small clashes took place across the city as protesters roamed around. Later in the day, masked demonstrators put up barricades in the city’s Altona neighborhood and threw gasoline bombs at police.

Hamburg police, who already have 20,000 officers on hand to patrol the city’s streets, skies and waterways, demanded reinforcement from police around the country.

“We’ve asked for a few hundreds more police officers — they’re on the way,” Andy Grote, the city’s interior senator, told reporters. “The potential for criminal energy and violence of some is shocking.”

Grote said that some activists were directly attacking officers and that 45 protesters were detained and another 15 were temporarily taken into custody. So far, 160 police officers were hurt, most of them slightly, but some also had to be taken to the hospital — one of whom had an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him.

“Yesterday, there were big problems,” Hamburg Resident Kursat Bayazit, 42, said as he was taking a stroll with his 2-year-old daughter in the St. Pauli neighborhood that had seen heavy clashes Thursday night.

The 42-year-old landscaper pointed across the street to a large, burned-out garbage can with an empty fire extinguisher lying nearby and the pungent smell of smoke still in the air.

“They burned that garbage can and in other places cars, it really scared my daughter,” Bayazit said, expressing frustrations with both the summit and the demonstrations because they kept him from getting to work.

However, not all St. Pauli residents seemed to share Bayazit’s frustration regarding the chaos reigning their city during the G-20 summit.

Few had their stores and homes boarded up and some residents seemed to be welcoming the protesters. Some were sitting in coffee shops, three young men were listening to Reggae music on their balcony and wearing anti-summit T-shirts while a few buildings further down the street, a banner hung from a window saying “granny and grandpa are against G-20” and “G-20 – go get beer.”

Some bars had put up signs saying, “protesters welcome” and late Thursday, prostitutes on the city’s famous Reeperbahn amusement strip could be seen dancing to the music of the activists and giving a thumbs-up to those passing by.

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Kirsten Grieshaber contributed from Berlin.

 

This article was written by David Rising from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.

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