President Donald Trump was met with thousands of protesters when he arrived at meetings in Brussels in May. But with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan joining him at the Group of 20 meetings in Germany this week, he likely won’t even be at the top of the list for demonstrators.
Add India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping and other leaders whose controversial policies have sparked unrest, mix in the cauldron that is Hamburg — the summit venue is only about a kilometer (less than a mile) from the country’s most notorious hotbed of left-wing protest — and the brew could prove explosive, AP reported.
“G-20: Welcome to Hell” is the slogan anti-globalization activists registered for their protests on July 6, when Trump and other leaders arrive for the July 7-8 summit in the northern port city.
“We are calling on the world to make Hamburg a focal point of the resistance against the old and new capitalist authorities,” said the organizers, who have ties to the Rote Flora squat, a center for radical leftists where police have clashed frequently with protesters. The site is a short walk from where the leaders will be meeting.
Already in the weeks ahead of the summit, in incidents believed linked to the meeting, police cars have been burned, train lines have been sabotaged and authorities in Hamburg and the nearby city of Rostock have confiscated improvised weapons like fire-extinguishers filled with flammable liquid, material to build gasoline bombs, baseball bats and other items in several raids.
“We have to assume that this is only a tiny percentage of what is still in basements and garages in and around Hamburg,” Hamburg police criminal director Jan Hieber told reporters this week.
In a preview of things to come, police clashed Tuesday night in Hamburg with hundreds of protesters, using pepper spray and water cannons to eventually bring the crowd under control.
The “Welcome to Hell” demonstration is just one of dozens of protests that have been registered under a smorgasbord of themes — including a far-right pro-Trump rally — with more than 100,000 demonstrators from across Europe and beyond taking part.