A wave of demonstrations are planned to hit the northern German city of Hamburg where leaders of the Group of 20 major economies, known as the G20, are set to meet next week. German media reported that some 30 protests are scheduled to be held on July 1-9 while the organizers expect the participation of more than 100,000 anti-capitalist and environmentalist activists at the largest events.
One of the rallies, dubbed “Welcome to Hell,” will take place on July 6. The march, which is organized by several left-wing groups, is expected to attract some 5,000 protesters. “It’s a combative message … but it’s also meant to symbolize that G20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster,” said Andreas Blechschmidt, one of the organizers of the July 6 march. Another protest, called “Protest Wave,” will also take place on July 2, with participants expressing their outrage at climate change, capitalism and global conflicts.
Involving a huge rally and a flotilla of 200 boats on Hamburg’s waterways, it is called by the German Trade Union Confederation, Greenpeace NGO, Oxfam charity and 12 other organizations. Svenja Angenendt, the Protest Wave spokesperson in Hamburg, told Germany’s public broadcaster Deutsche Welle that the demonstration calls for significant political changes. “We want democracy to be strengthened, better protection for our climate, social justice in Germany and worldwide and we demand a fair global trade regime,” Angenendt said.
She further raised alarm about possible violence in the protest. “That’s why we’ve decided to demonstrate a week ahead – before Hamburg is turned into a high-security zone. We hope that we can, therefore, demonstrate peacefully and that many people will join us,” she added.
Meanwhile, Georg Ismael, a member of the leftist group ArbeiterInnenMacht, warned that German policemen could be violent against demonstrators. Arne Schoenbohm, president of Germany’s Federal Office for Information Security, said about 20,000 police with dogs, horses and helicopters will be deployed to deal with tens of thousands of expected demonstrators.
Reports say two security zones are being set up around the G20 conference center. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said recently that the July 7-8 summit will focus on the Paris Agreement. The accord was signed by more than 190 countries in December 2015 and came into effect in November 2016 in a bid to curb carbon emissions.US President Donald Trump pulled America out of the deal on 1 June, arguing that the agreement will disadvantage and impoverish his country. The move prompted worldwide condemnations.