Thousands protest G8 meeting in Germany
David Rising – Canadian Press June 2, 2007
Buses and trains from across Europe streamed into the northern port city of Rostock on Saturday, bringing thousands of protesters to the largest-yet demonstration over the upcoming G8 meeting of industrialized powers.
A group of protesters attacked a hotel where an American delegation is supposed to stay during the G8 summit this week, and some demonstrators also battered police cars with rocks, bottles and paint bombs, authorities said.
The protest comes ahead of the three-day summit that opens Wednesday in the nearby northern resort town of Heiligendamm, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosts the leaders of the other G8 countries: Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Russia, Canada, and the United States.
Although organizers on their website emphasized that they wanted a peaceful protest, they added: "This may be different with the actions following later in the week of protest."
Some 13,000 police were on hand, and authorities said about 30,000 protesters had come for the daylong demonstration under the motto "another world is possible."
Police helicopters hovered overhead as thousands of demonstrators marched behind a truck streaming out soap bubbles and carrying a rock band that played anti-globalization songs.
Some protesters covered their heads and faces with black hoods, sun glasses and scarves, while others chanted protest slogans through megaphones, blowing whistles and waving flags. Riot police videotaped the demonstration.
Rocks and broken beer bottles lay on the ground in front of a bank building were protesters smashed half a dozen windows.
Most stores along the route had nailed up their windows ahead of the protests, with the exception of sausage stands and other fast food restaurants.
Dozens of different groups, including communists, anarchists and environmentalists, were taking part and messages were mixed: Some urged action from the G8 countries in the fight against HIV/AIDS, African poverty and climate change, while others questioned the legitimacy of the existence of the G8 itself. Among the organizers were the anti-globalization group Attac, radical leftists, Christian groups, the Green party and others.
"The world shaped by the dominance of the G8 is a world of war, hunger, social divisions, environmental destruction and barriers against migrants and refugees," organizers said in leaflets handed out on the streets.
Kay Stenzel woke at 3 a.m. to drive in from the eastern city of Bautzen with four friends to voice their discontent with the G8 leaders.
"They want to impose their wills upon the poor nations," he said, waving a red flag emblazoned with a black cat - an animal he chose because it was "unruly."
Last updated 03/06/2007