Hamburg (July 9, 2017): An eclectic and international mix of demonstrators peacefully tramped through the streets of Hamburg on Saturday, a show of anti-capitalist muscle in earshot of the world’s top leaders who were finishing up at the G20 summit.
Up to 50,000 people turned out, police in the northern German city estimated. Waving flags, wielding banners and holding posters, they displayed their support for a slew of issues, including migrant rights, Kurdish independence, LGBT rights and environmental initiatives.
Julian G., who lives in a Hamburg suburb, told the media that he was demonstrating for the rights of Turkish people who’ve lost their freedoms under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government.
“I want to stand with my friends in Turkey who are trapped in an authoritarian system and can’t demonstrate freely,” he said.
Saturday’s turnout included two separate demonstrations that converged at one large meeting place. A festive and communal feel pervaded the crowds, with people holding climate change signs and feminism posters and grooving to music. Many came with family.
Since the demonstrations began this week, at least 213 officers have been injured, 114 people have been arrested and 89 have been taken into custody, police said Saturday.
Protesters set bonfires in the streets, looted shops and stacked up blocks of pavement to use as projectiles. At first, police stayed back, while demonstrators threw rocks and bottles and then retreated.
But shortly before midnight, police moved forward. They fired tear gas and water cannons and set off flash-bang grenades.
Protesters hurled bottles of looted champagne into the fires, causing popping noises that sounded like fireworks.
The Group of 20, which includes 19 countries and the European Union, accounts for about 80% of the global gross domestic product. Around two-thirds of the world’s population live in a G20 country.
Climate change, terrorism and migration were among the issues during the two-day meeting in what is the birthplace of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.