Friday, July 7, 2017
Ahead of G-20, police and protesters clash
With just 24 hours to go until the start of the Group of 20 summit, the usual traffic noise died down in Hamburg. Silence ruled in the city center, only punctuated by the sound of passing police helicopters.
Thursday's big demonstration against the summit, titled "Welcome To Hell," was the first serious test for the police. Flyers from the organizers instructed people to "be noisy, angry and combative." The police knew that this would be the first gathering of the "black block" — the extreme anarchist end of the anti-capitalist movement.
Police officers have saturated the district around the Messehallen convention center for days now. Streets are blocked off. Hundreds of police vans from all over Germany line the pavements. Water cannons have been stationed around the city all week. The central part of Hamburg has been transformed into a fortress, despite statements by the city government that this was not supposed to happen.