Day One G20 protests: police fire water cannon into anti-capitalist rally

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A protester blows bubbles as riot police use water cannon during the rally. Photograph: Steffi Loos/AFP/Getty Images

 

06 July 2017 |  | The Guardian

German police used water cannon and pepper spray to disperse anti-capitalist protesters after clashes with police broke out in Hamburg just as world leaders – including Donald Trump, Xi Jinping, and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan – started to arrive in Germany’s second city for the G20 summit.

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The ‘Welcome to Hell’ protest, which drew about 12,000 people. Photograph: Ronald Wittek/EPA

 

Police said 74 police officers were injured throughout the evening, although most of them sustained minor injuries. March organisers said several protesters were hurt, but did not say how many.

The “Welcome to Hell” march on Thursday night was due to move from Hamburg’s historic harbour area towards the venue where the G20 summit is due to be held on Friday and Saturday, but the demonstration came to halt about 300 metres into its route after police blocked the path of protesters. Violence broke out near the start of the demonstration at a riverside plaza used for Hamburg’s weekly fish market.

Marchers chanted and waved banners during a stand-off that lasted around 40 minutes. The Hafenstrasse road where the first skirmishes took place has been a focal point of Hamburg’s anarchist, leftwing and squatters’ scene since the 1980s.

Police asked a group of demonstrators to remove their masks, after which they were attacked with bottles and stones by some marchers. They then decided to separate the group by force from the rest of the approximately 12,000-strong demonstration.

Several protesters outside the “black bloc” of activists reported also being targeted with water and pepper spray. The march later continued after many of the more confrontational protesters dispersed into side streets.

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