Protesters Swarm Hamburg Ahead Of G20 Summit

Seventy-six police officers were injured in clashes with demonstrators in Hamburg, Germany before the G20 summit, authorities have said. Three officers were taken to hospital with serious injuries, with many protesters also injured in the violent clashes. Police are yet to report the number of arrests.

Almost 1,200 people attended the protest, titled the ‘Welcome to Hell’ march. The demonstration turned violent Thursday evening only an hour after German Chancellor Angela Merkel met and welcomed US President Donald Trump.

A small group of protestors set off firecrackers from a nearby roof, damaging buildings in the vicinity of the area.

Police used water cannons, pepper spray, and batons to disperse masked protesters as they attacked police with bottles and stones. 

Officers had reportedly asked demonstrators to remove their masks, to which there was no response from the crowd of protestors.

Local authorities said they were “horrified by the violence” perpetrated by the demonstrators.

Over the course of the two-day summit, police expect a total 100,000 protestors to pour into Hamburg. Of this number, security forces have classified 8000 demonstrators as ready to commit violence. Up to 20,000 police officers will be involved in managing the protest while the summit persists.

The G20, founded in 1999, meets annually to discuss global issues. It is expected that the most topical discussions in question for 2017 will include climate change, terrorism and migration. 

Last week, Chancellor Angela Merkel said the G20 would focus primarily on the 2015 Paris climate deal – a deal that the United States has incidentally withdrawn from. Merkel remains hopeful that an agreement on climate change may still be achieved. In a statement, she said she hoped leaders would find “compromises and answers” during the summit. “There are various options, which can be discussed. We know that the United States have withdrawn. All others … or as far as I know, many, many others stand by this agreement,” she said. Merkel and U.S. President Donald Trump have already discussed G20 themes, the Middle East, North Korea, and the eastern Ukrainian conflict.

The summit will also be the scene for Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Russian President, Vladimir Putin. The two leaders are scheduled to meet Friday in what will be a heavily scrutinized discussion, especially considering the recent allegations of Russian election hacking.

Despite the violent protests, the G20 summit and discussions of climate change and other global issues will persist. As such, hopefully, the assembly can devise a number of resolutions to protect the global environment and consequently the future of the international community.