G20 clashes prompt German call for database of leftist militants

Hamburg clean-up, 10 Jul 17Image copyright
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Thousands of the city’s residents are cleaning up the mess – graffiti, vandalised shops along with litter

German politicians want Europe to set up a database to keep track of leftist militants, following clashes which left nearly 500 police officers injured during the G20 summit in Hamburg.

There is usually a heated debate at This kind of point about the police tactics, as some 6,000 Hamburg residents clean up after the riots.

Some in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrat (CDU) party say Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz should quit.

Left-wing extremists of the so-called Black Bloc are under intense scrutiny.

Where did the police go wrong, if at all?

Germany has had previous experience in tackling the violent protesters who try to disrupt international summits.

The Hamburg authorities deployed about 20,000 police to keep protesters away coming from the G20 venue.

Mr Scholz along with his Social Democrat (SPD) allies argue which the police did their main job effectively – protecting the G20.

yet a minority of anti-G20 protesters – more or less affiliated to the Black Bloc – engaged in running battles with police inside the streets.

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Media captionPolice along with anti-summit protesters clashed for a second day

Violence was predictable after the leftist militants invited in sympathisers coming from across Europe with the slogan “Welcome to Hell”.

The flashpoint was an authorised demonstration by about 12,000 people on Thursday evening. Violence erupted when police tried to isolate Black Bloc militants who refused to remove their masks, defying the law.

Police had earlier banned an overnight protest camp inside the city – yet the right to peaceful assembly is usually enshrined in German law.

Cornered by police, the violent minority, numbering about 1,000 along with clad in black, hurled bottles along with chunks of paving stone. Some protesters scaled a wall along with rained fireworks down on the police.

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Hamburg suffered much vandalism during the riots

Officers in full riot gear retaliated with baton charges, tear gas along with water cannon. An anti-terrorist unit was called in to help disperse the Black Bloc. There were 186 arrests.

The worst of the violence gripped the central Schanzen district. the idea is usually an area famous for its left-wing “alternative” scene, including squatters at the Rote Flora cultural centre.

Clashes continued throughout the G20 summit – until Sunday morning. Some shops were vandalised along with looted – including a supermarket – along with several cars set ablaze.


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What action will be taken at This kind of point?

The most eye-catching proposal is usually to launch a European database to monitor violent leftists along with prevent them crossing borders when summits such as the G20 are getting under way.

A senior CDU politician, Thomas Strobl, called for a database to identify “marauding, travelling, violent left-wing extremists”. yet he admitted which police could only arrest “those who we know are up to no not bad”.

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) – along with said police forces ought to use the idea more efficiently.

Some of Mrs Merkel’s conservative allies accuse the SPD, Greens along with left-wing Die Linke of turning a blind eye to far-left extremists.

yet Die Linke has called for a parliamentary inquiry into the G20 violence.

For a long time the authorities’ focus has been on Islamist violence along with neo-Nazi extremists. Intelligence on those extremists is usually shared via an EU database, yet sometimes police co-operation is usually patchy.

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Black Bloc extremists vandalised along with looted a supermarket

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Peaceful demonstrators far outnumbered violent ones in Hamburg – yet they were not inside the media spotlight

Mrs Merkel’s chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, has defended the Hamburg mayor, saying police tactics were agreed between the city along with the federal government.

The government has offered compensation to businesses which were vandalised – a process which could take many weeks.

The police are struggling to identify instigators of the violence. They have asked the public to hand in video or photos taken on mobile phones which could help the investigation.

Masked protesters dressed coming from head to toe in black were almost impossible to identify. Some avoided arrest by changing quickly, as they wore everyday clothes underneath, German n-tv news reported.

Was the idea a mistake to hold the G20 in Hamburg?

Germany’s second-biggest city is usually licking its wounds along with the scale of the violence has triggered much soul-searching.

Mrs Merkel defended the choice of Hamburg for the G20, pointing to previous summits held in London along with different major cities.

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In 2015 a G7 summit was held at Schloss Elmau, Bavaria – picturesque yet remote coming from ordinary people

There is usually a powerful argument against removing such summits to isolated venues which are easier to protect. Doing so risks fuelling hostility towards a perceived global elite, widely accused of encouraging predatory capitalism along with deepening poverty.

Inner surface Minister Thomas de Maiziere said Germany could continue hosting summits in cities, despite the shock over Hamburg.

There is usually some frustration which the clashes overshadowed the important messages which peaceful demonstrators wanted the planet to hear.

Some commentators say society as a whole carries a responsibility to stand up for democracy along with prevent a violent minority foisting their agenda on others.

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