Hamburg braces for mass protests as G-20 makes the city a site of global discord
HAMBURG – For a thousand years, this port city has connected northern Europe to the other side of the globe.
Its international character was developed as world leaders will gather here for the G-20 economic summit, which begins Friday. But its opening mark will be tested up to 100,000 protesters have transformed the old market into a site of global competition against capitalism, the environment and political and ethnic nationalism.
His protests are based on a tradition of left-wing activism in Germany’s second-largest city and the birthplace of Chancellor Angela Merkel.
It hosts a list of foreign leaders – including division figures such as President Trump, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey – in a conference center and the center of the great concert hall Elbphilharmonie, a crown jewel Part of the country with major problems and still loaded with an unemployment rate higher than the national average.
Diplomatic discussions take place a few miles from a nervous center of the radical German left, Rote Flora, an old theater where the militants entrenched themselves for almost three decades. Its members provide an anti-capitalist demonstration entitled “Welcome to Hell”, which will begin on Thursday with the arrival of delegations.
Warning of the violence, security officials say the event could attract up to 8,000 members of the militant left, Germany and beyond.
Among its participants, there will be “black block” demonstrators with anarchist sympathies who wear black clothes and cover their faces. Authorities said their concerns came after the discovery of materials used to make Molotov cocktails, with knives, shots, and baseball bats.
A spokesperson for Rote Flora, Andreas Blechschmidt, who registered the event, said he expects a peaceful demonstration. But he promised a legitimate defense “if the police attack us,” saying: “Violence can be a productive form of protest”
Authorities promise the largest police operation in the city’s history. Twenty thousand agents will watch over 30 registered events. Forty-five water cannons available to disperse the crowd. Some were used Tuesday night to clear the streets of protesters.
Central fauchades next to the city’s port can be divided to counter a blockade of the summit scheduled for Friday. A no-fly zone is in place.
“You can not decide if a demonstrator or where the heads of state and government meet in Germany at the invitation of the Chancellor,” said Thomas de Maizière, German Interior Minister.