Police in Hamburg reported on Friday, July 7, that they have requested up to 1000 reinforcements to the city from German police forces after at least 196 officers were injured, 70 people arrested, and 15 more taken into detention amid ongoing demonstrations against the G20 summit being held in the city July 7-8. Riot police resorted to water cannons and force to keep protesters from entering the red zone - the cordoned-off area surrounding the event venue - and impeding the movement of foreign dignitaries and delegations throughout the city.
A large, festive crowd gathered on Friday in Millerntorplatz before confrontations with police broke out nearby when protesters began throwing rocks and glass bottles near the waterfront. Elsewhere, small sit-ins were staged throughout the city while acts of violence, primarily by Black Bloc anarchists, were also reported. Police said officers were attacked with iron bars in Reeperbahn and fire bombs in Holstenstrasse and that protesters targeted police vehicles, including helicopters, with flares, bottles, and lasers. Officials also warned of violence in Altona district, particularly near the Hamburg-Altona railway station, where violent protesters set fire to several vehicles and threw Molotov cocktails.
Many demonstrators have sustained injuries in clashes with security personnel, but exact numbers were not made readily available by police, who insist the majority of the estimated 100,000 demonstrators have remained peaceful. Additional protests are expected into the weekend and further violence is likely.
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).
Some 30 registered demonstrations were set to take place the week of the summit, 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. 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.
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.
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