German police seized knives, baseball bats, and incendiary devices from anti-G20 demonstrators in Hamburg on Tuesday, July 4. The incident follows days of protest during which over 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets and waterways of the city to protest against the upcoming G20 Summit, which is scheduled to take place July 7-8 in the city. After announcing the weapons seizure, Hamburg police chief Ralf Martin Meyer noted that he expects “massive assaults” from left-wing and anarchists groups during the summit. Particular concern has been expressed for the “Welcome to Hell” militant demonstration set for Thursday, July 6, expected to rally some 8000 anarchists and radical left-wing demonstrators.
Some 30 registered demonstrations are set to take place this week, including a large protest set for Saturday, July 8; over 170 organizations are expected to demonstrate under the “Solidarity without borders instead of G20” motto, rallying some 100,000 people. Local police are braced for further outbreaks of violence and sabotage especially with the arrival of divisive and controversial world leaders, such as Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, and the United States’ Donald Trump. Temporary courtrooms and holding cells have been established ahead of the hundreds of anticipated arrests, and 20,000 police personnel are being deployed to ensure order.
Meanwhile, local authorities warn of heightened congestion in Hamburg, notably in the inner-city, due to severe transportation disruptions. Airlines have advised air travelers to plan for additional travel time to reach the airport due to traffic jams and increased security. Moreover, temporary identification checkpoints have been implemented along Germany's air, sea, and land borders. Travelers will be required to present a passport or an ID issued by an EU member state, as well as valid visas and/or residence cards if applicable, upon entry. The border controls could result in increased waiting times for individuals arriving at German airports and other points of entry from abroad.
The 12th G20 summit will include leaders from the United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Turkey, South Africa, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Japan, Mexico, Italy, India, Indonesia, France, China, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Argentina, and the European Union (EU).
Concern for outbreaks of violence has heightened due to the range of attacks claimed by left-wing protesters in late June, including the incineration of six police vehicles and 12 seemingly coordinated attacks on the national rail operator Deutsche Bahn.
As a reminder, Germany is a member of the EU's Schengen Area, a collection of 26 European countries that allow for passport-free travel between their borders. Under Schengen rules, countries can implement internal border controls for up to ten days for national security or public policy reasons. These controls can be renewed for periods of up to 30 days, with a maximum limit of six months.
Individuals are advised to avoid all protests, anticipate an increased security presence, and remain vigilant due to the possibility of violence. Report any suspicious objects or behavior to authorities. Travelers are advised to plan for additional travel time, to carry relevant ID documents, and to anticipate longer wait times at border security posts.