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.
Dozens 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 around the summit that the police had established.
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 wheels of a car belonging to the Canadian delegation were punctured.
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 on Friday. Still, clashes across the city paled in comparison to the more violent skirmishes seen on Thursday night.
Police said that at least 111 officers were hurt during Thursday’s clashes, one of whom had to be taken to a hospital with an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him. Twenty-nine people were arrested and a further 15 temporarily detained.
In comparisons to cities in the past, who have boarded up stores and homes when summit leaders met there, many Hamburg residents seemed to be welcoming the protesters. 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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