186 activists held after rioters and police clash at G20 summit
Nearly 500 police officers were injured in clashes with anti-globalisation protesters during the G20 summit, as fresh riots broke out overnight after the world leaders returned home from Germany.
Nearly 500 police officers were injured in clashes with anti-globalisation protesters during the G20 summit, as fresh riots broke out overnight after the world leaders returned home from Germany. Demonstrators congregated following the closure of the summit in the Schanzen district of Hamburg an area noted for anti-capitalist activists a stronghold for radicals which was the site of multiple confrontations since Thursday (July 6). Armed with glass bottles and targeting vehicles, many of which they set on fire, the rioters were pushed back by officers, using water cannon and tear gas. Hartmut Dudde, the head of operations for Hamburg Police, said 476 officers had been injured in a deployment of more than 20,000. A total of186 people are being held in custody after more than 300 activists were initially arrested. Mr Dudde admitted that, despite 18 months of preparation, security forces had been “surprised” by the extent of the violence. After surveying the damage, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited wounded officers in hospital with Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz. He said he was “shocked and dismayed” by the “will to destroy shown by demonstrators against police and private citizens` property”, adding: “We must ask ourselves as democrats whether a few violent protesters can keep countries such as Germany from holding such international meetings.” Mayor Scholz thanked the “heroic” police for their service, before dismissing criticism by some peaceful demonstrators that officers had been excessive in what he called “the biggest police operation in the post-war period”. Mr Scholz demanded “lengthy jail sentences” for participants in the riots. The German police officers` union GdP hit out at so-called bloc anarchists, accusing them of “hijacking peaceful demonstrations by tens of thousands of people to deliberately attack” offciers. The clashes occurred as leaders from the world`s 20 biggest developed and emerging economies held a two-day meeting focusing on terrorism, trade, climate change and other key global issues. The explosion of violence at the meeting had sparked pointed questions over how Hamburg could descend into “mob rule” and why German Chancellor Angela Merkel chose a hotbed of leftist militancy as the venue.