The G20 summit in Hamburg on July 7-8 has attracted a panoply of protests, including anti-globalisation and environmental demonstrations.
A major demonstration was organised by anti-globalisation on July 6 as the city prepared to welcome leaders of the Group of 20 countries. Protest organisers called the event “G20: Welcome to Hell.”
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, the streets and ports of Hamburg will be unusually crowded at the weekend, as dozens of protest groups emerge to demonstrate against the policies of the world’s richest countries.
At a press conference on July 6, Welcome to Hell organisers accused police of “criminalising” the demo before it had even started.
“We won’t start a street battle,” one protester was quoted in the German media as saying. “And if the police doesn’t use every mask or single firework as an excuse for an escalation, the demonstration will finish peacefully.”
According to DW, the protesters gained some reinforcements on July 6 with the arrival of a privately-chartered train (inevitably, with its own hashtag #ZuG20) from Basel, Switzerland, that stopped in a number of German cities along the way, including Frankfurt and Cologne, to pick up what eventually amounted to around 1,000 protesters.
The protest train, which had its own website, logo, banners, sticker, and fliers, was open to any protesters going to any demos in Hamburg.
Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung reported that the people who boarded the 12-wagon locomotive in Basel on July 5 were subjected to “minute” checks by both Swiss and German federal police (who sent some 100 officers across the border).
Meanwhile, on July 8, as many as 170 organisations will come together under the motto of the demo “Solidarity without borders instead of G20”.
Describing itself as a “rejection of this cold and cruel world of global capitalism,” the protest will include representatives from both of Germany’s main opposition parties, the socialist Left party and the Green party, the trade unions Verdi and IG Metall, a variety of regional peace organizations, as well as a number of other organizations somewhat further to the left, including the German Communist Party (DKP) and the International Socialist Organization (ISO).
Earlier this week, more than 70 international NGOs came together in Hamburg to organise an “alternative summit”. One of the biggest groups to participate in the July 5-6 gathering is the Global Solidarity Summit is Attac. Founded in France, it boasts 90,000 members in 50 countries.
The group’s French acronym, which translates as Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Citizen’s Action, hints at its single-issue origins, but now Attac pursues a number of topics surrounding growing inequality and poverty around the world, including the overexploitation of the Earth’s resources.