Curious converge on G8 summit venue

11th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

11 June 2007, Heiligendamm, Germany (dpa) - The curious converged on the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm Saturday to inspect where the world's powerful had walked and talked, eaten and slept during the G8 summit. During the hours of darkness, police began dismantling the 2.5- metre-high security fence that had completely cordoned off the town, and by daybreak the general public who had been excluded for the past three days were walking in the footsteps of the famous. Not a few of the 18,000 police officers w

11 June 2007

Heiligendamm, Germany (dpa) - The curious converged on the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm Saturday to inspect where the world's powerful had walked and talked, eaten and slept during the G8 summit.

During the hours of darkness, police began dismantling the 2.5- metre-high security fence that had completely cordoned off the town, and by daybreak the general public who had been excluded for the past three days were walking in the footsteps of the famous.

Not a few of the 18,000 police officers who had protected the event against repeated, and increasingly ingenious, assault by anti- G8 protestors, made their way into the protected zone to inspect what they had been guarding.

Journalists wanted to view at first hand what they had been reporting about from the press centre well outside the zone in nearby Kuehlungsborn and summer tourists to see the sights recommended in the guide books but closed off for the duration.

The giant wicker beach chair in which Chancellor Angela Merkel had presidents George W Bush and Vladimir Putin photographed along with the other five world leaders was a central focus of attention.

"It's great to be able to sit where just yesterday really powerful people were sitting," a German tourist said.

Many tourists had their pictures taken in the chair of azure blue and gleaming white stripes. Chairs of this kind, although much smaller, are a common sight along the beaches here, for hire at 7 euros (10 dollars) a day.

Police officers posed for group photographs to take away as momentoes of the long hours of boredom punctuated by hectic activity to counter yet another well planned invasion by protestors.

"I'm Angela Merkel," a woman officer calls out as she sits down where once the popular chancellor sat.

But, as the tourists took possession once more, one group was noticeable by its absence.

The anti-globalization protestors, who just a day before had strained every muscle and dreamed up any trick to get past the fence, were either gone or packing up to go.

The camp in Reddelich, a few kilometres to the south, was emptying rapidly.

Many made for the railway stations, from where overcrowded trains ferried bronzed and tired demonstrators the four-hour journey to Berlin and onwards.

While some congratulated themselves on their successes against the police, others squabbled over the few seats and berated other passengers for their lack of political engagement.

On the pier in front of the bulk of the Kempinski Hotel - the summit venue - the platform from which Merkel and her guests looked out over the sea was still up.

Frauke Mueller, spokeswoman for the famous hotel, is hopeful the publicity gained will help the huge establishment fill its rooms and dining halls.

"All 225 rooms and suites were in use during the summit," she told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

"We're getting lots of reservation inquiries, some for as far ahead as Christmas."

Mueller is grateful to the weather gods for smiling down on the summit, ensuring a perfect backdrop for the news cameras during the event.

"It was Heiligendamm at its very best," she says.

Down on the beach, the boardwalk walked by the leaders on their way to the water was still there.

"But things are slowly returning to normal," a local says. "Well, some things will take a bit longer."

DPA

Subject: German news

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