Following the clashes that left nearly 500 police officers injured during the G20 summit in Hamburg, German politicians called for a European database to track leftist militants.
Some in Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s Christian Democrat (CDU) party even called for Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz’ resignation.
The Hamburg authorities deployed about 20,000 police to keep protesters away from the G20 venue.
Scholz and his Social Democrat (SPD) allies argue that the police did their main job effectively – protecting the G20.
As reported by the BBC, a minority of anti-G20 protesters engaged in running battles with police in the streets.
Violence was predictable after the leftist militants invited in sympathisers from across Europe with the slogan “Welcome to Hell”.
The flashpoint was a demonstration by about 12,000 people on July 6. Violence erupted when police tried to isolate Black Bloc militants who refused to remove their masks, defying the law.
Cornered by police, the violent minority, numbering about 1,000 and clad in black, hurled bottles and chunks of paving stone. Some protesters scaled a wall and rained fireworks down on the police.
Officers in full riot gear retaliated with baton charges, tear gas and water cannon. An anti-terrorist unit was called in to help disperse the Black Bloc. There were 186 arrests.
As regards senior CDU politician Thomas Strobl’s call for a database to identify “marauding, travelling, violent left-wing extremists,” Green Party leader Simone Peter warned against a “populist, knee-jerk” reaction.
She pointed to the EU’s existing intelligence database – the Schengen Information System (SIS) – and said police forces ought to use it more efficiently.