German police open anti-G8 activists' mail

25th May 2007, Comments 0 comments

25 May 2007, Hamburg (dpa) - Police said Friday they had opened the private mail in the German city of Hamburg while seeking anti-globalization radicals who have thrown petrol bombs at cars and homes. The special branch of the Hamburg police said there had been "isolated" checks at a mail-sorting centre. "These were interceptions with judicial permission after letters claiming responsibility turned up," said Detlef Kreutzer, chief of the branch. Tension has risen before the German-hosted June 6-8 summit of

25 May 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - Police said Friday they had opened the private mail in the German city of Hamburg while seeking anti-globalization radicals who have thrown petrol bombs at cars and homes.

The special branch of the Hamburg police said there had been "isolated" checks at a mail-sorting centre.

"These were interceptions with judicial permission after letters claiming responsibility turned up," said Detlef Kreutzer, chief of the branch.

Tension has risen before the German-hosted June 6-8 summit of the Group of Eight (G8) nations, with critics of western policy saying the inquiry and a buffer zone around the summit are infringing on civil rights.

There have been more than a dozen overnight attacks on cars and homes with petrol bombs in recent months in Hamburg. Nobody has been hurt. Nobody has been arrested. In Berlin, many cars have been set on fire.

German police have faced criticism from the media that they have not caught any of the radicals as well as criticism from anti-globalization activists that the hunt for a few has treated the whole movement as suspects.

Mainstream aid and environmentalist groups said this week that their rallies at the summit would be peaceful. They criticized a ban on protests within 5 kilometres of a fence around the Heiligendamm summit venue as excessive.

There were riots May 9 after police raids on a leftist centre in Hamburg. The arson attacks have continued to damage property. Claims of responsibility sent to media have attacked the G8 and German industry.

The postal company, Deutsche Post, confirmed officers looked at mail from Tuesday to Thursday at a sorting centre. Police also accompanied a postman who was clearing city letter-boxes.

Kreutzer denied that the mail of "entire city districts" was opened.

A national newspaper, Taz, reported the intercepts were overseen by federal police. No comment could be obtained from federal prosecutors who supervise the police.

The news magazine Der Spiegel quoted the federal prosecutor general, Monika Harms, defending the May 9 raids and an examination of the body odour of five leading anarchists, saying there had been "concrete reasons."

"There are instructions circulating for arson attacks, and camps being held to train people in blocking roads and militant protests at Heiligendamm," she said.

Suggestions that the police intelligence work is aimed at preventing militant demonstrations next month have unsettled senior Social Democrats in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition this week.

Peter Struck, head of the Social Democrat caucus, called Friday in a TV interview for a "sense of proportion," adding, "I sometimes think the security authorities' concerns are exaggerated."

DPA

Subject: German news

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