“Welcome to Hell” is a fitting name for the protests which turned violent in Hamburg during the Group of 20 summit.
The “Welcome to Hell” march began on the evening of 6 July and was scheduled to move from Hamburg’s historic harbour area toward at the Messehallen Convention Centre where the summit is held. Over 20,000 German police officers were on hand to patrol the area, according to the Telegraph.
The demonstration came to a halt when officers blocked the path in full riot gear, using water cannons and pepper spray to break up the anti-capitalist protestors as world leaders began to arrive G20 summit.
Police demanded that a group of hard-core anti-capitalist protesters remove their masks, but after the group refused to comply, police stepped in to separate them from the rest of the several thousand-strong demonstrators. Violence soon broke out as black-hooded protesters attacked a police vehicle with bottles and bricks. Some even began to set vehicles on fire.
The violent protests lasted hours and continued late into the night. By 10:31 on Friday, it was reported that at least 111 officers had been injured and protest organisers say that numerous demonstrators were also hurt. A spokesperson for Hamburg’s police force added that most of the officers sustained only minor injuries.
A journalist for Spiegel Online reported on Friday morning that around 350 to 400 anti-G20 protestors had gathered in an attempt to block access to the sites where the G20 summit is being held. Many of the protestors were donned purple attire while holding banners with slogans such as “Make Solidarity Great Again” or “Queerfeminist Revolution.”
The morning protest appeared to be peaceful until police tried to stop the march using batons and tear gas. Protesters set of fireworks and roman candles in response. More parked cars were in flames this morning, as well, said the Hamburg Police in a tweet.
Even bystanders with no connection to the summit or the protest got caught in the middle and woke up to see their cars burnt to the point of being nearly unrecognizable, including a dozen luxury sports cars.
Further violent protests are to be expected in Hamburg throughout the duration of the G20 summit. The Hamburg police are live-tweeting as the protests take place.
Police are also reporting that protesters have blocked several intersections in Downtown Hamburg which delayed European commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and European council president Donald Tusk on their way to a press conference around 10:30 Friday morning.
First lady of the US Melania Trump was reportedly stuck in her guest residence in the early afternoon due to the protests. A spokeswoman for the first lady told DPA news that she had not received the all-clear from the police in order to leave. The first lady tweeted that she was thinking of everyone hurt during the protests.
Other protests included a “Color The Red Zone” which aimed to make it difficult for G20 participants to get to the summit and a performance piece straight out of a zombie nightmare. Over 1,000 actors covered in grey clay shuffled and clawed their way through the city in silence. One of the ‘zombies’ stripped himself of the grey to reveal brightly coloured clothes underneath. Soon, all of the other participants did the same. The two-hour long show stood for more humanity and self-responsibility in light of the G20 summit and emphasised that change can start with one person.