Police and protesters prepare for G8 summit

17th January 2007, Comments 0 comments

17 January 2007, Hamburg (dpa) - Both protesters and German authorities this week stepped up preparations for clashes this summer at the Group of Eight (G8) summit, set to take place at a Baltic seaside resort in Germany. About 100 militant protesters from the anti-globalization movement Attac trained in sit-in tactics over the weekend in the German city of Hanover. The anti-G8 group is expected to carry out hit-and-run protests, seeking gaps in cordons of tough riot police assigned to the summit. At the s

17 January 2007

Hamburg (dpa) - Both protesters and German authorities this week stepped up preparations for clashes this summer at the Group of Eight (G8) summit, set to take place at a Baltic seaside resort in Germany.

About 100 militant protesters from the anti-globalization movement Attac trained in sit-in tactics over the weekend in the German city of Hanover. The anti-G8 group is expected to carry out hit-and-run protests, seeking gaps in cordons of tough riot police assigned to the summit.

At the summit site in Heiligendamm, situated in remote countryside north of Berlin, contractors were this week erecting the first stretches of a temporary anti-protest security fence around an expensive grand hotel surrounded by mature trees and overlooking a white-sand beach.

Topped with coils of razor-wire, the 2.5-metre-high fence will ultimately be more than 12 kilometres long and will end in the sea, just to make sure that protesters do not wade past the barrier into the top-security zone.

The fence, enhanced with infra-red sensors and closed-circuit TV cameras, is designed to keep out both protesters and cranks and will cost the German hosts 12.5 million euros (17 million dollars).

The protesters were quick with their answer to the fence: they hung a banner on the steel grating saying "Fence In Capitalism!"

The June 6-8 meeting will bring together the G7 leaders, representing the seven main Western industrialized nations, and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, whose participation extends the line-up into a G8.

German authorities plan to deploy 15,000 police and soldiers to ensure the meeting takes place without a hitch. Police intelligence reports estimate 100,000 protesters may show up outside the fence.

The security forces plan to rehearse tactics in March to counter the protesters, based on their past behaviour.

Protesters with Attac, a Europe-wide leftist organization, associate the G8 with efforts to liberalize world trade. Attac does not believe this spreads prosperity, but claims it leads to poverty.

"World trade is organized to benefit big companies, not ordinary people," asserted Ingmar Vogelsang, 33, a German man who travelled to the G8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland to join in protests and aims to be at the forefront of demonstrations this year.

In Hanover, Jutta Sundermann, who helped establish Attac seven years ago, was last weekend counselling dozens of would-be protesters on psychological tactics, for example how to stare down riot police.

"They'll be standing in front of you with grim faces: big, all dressed up, armed," she warned. Protesters had to keep their poise.

Some of the German protesters are still at school. One, Judith, 16, explained that she had already taken part in leftist protests against neo-Nazis and in support of university students complaining at tuition fees.

Attac plans to organize many more pre-summit meetings to marshal its forces before the date.

Since Heiligendamm is located in remote countryside, the demonstrators aim to use an old military tactic: cutting overstretched supply lines. The protesters aim to hold sit-down protests on roads near the resort.

DPA

Subject: German news

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