The German Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Germany's internal security agency, announced it was preparing for potentially violent protests by as many as 10,000 left-wing extremists at the upcoming Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Hamburg on July 7-8, raising fears of greater violence and potential attacks in the coming days and weeks in Hamburg and across the country. German media outlet Die Welt reported that the internal security agency has been tracking the activities of left-wing extremists for several months through a special program code-named "Störtebeker." According to media reports, the Hamburg police also fear the possibility of violent clashes between Turkish and Kurdish communities, as the Turkish President will be in attendance. The German authorities have announced the deployment of 15,000 police officers from across the country, along with 5000 federal officers.
On a related note, individuals in Hamburg during the summit should expect severe transportation disruptions. The city center will be particularly congested. Airlines have advised air travelers to plan for additional travel time to reach the airport due to the congestion and increased security. Moreover, identification checks 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 wait 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).
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday, March 28, that left-wing protesters claimed responsibility for six burned police vehicles in the city of Hamburg in an attack that took place on March 27. An anonymous message left online suggested the attacks were intended to increase tensions in the city ahead of the G20 summit. Moreover, German national rail operator Deutsche Bahn was hit with 12 seemingly coordinated arson attacks across the country between 01:00 and 04:30 (local time) on Monday, June 19. According to police, cable shafts were set on fire using homemade incendiary or explosive devices in the states of Berlin, Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, and Saxony, resulting in major transportation delays. Responsibility for the attacks was claimed on a left-wing website by a group calling itself "Shutdown G20: take Hamburg offline!"
Germany faced similar protests from extremists during the G20 summit in Heligendamm in 2007. Significantly more resources are expected to be deployed for this year's summit.
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.
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