Protest groups announce rallies against German G7 summit
Activists against a G7 summit in Germany next month announced Wednesday a series of planned protest rallies and accused the government of trying to restrict their right to demonstrate.
Chancellor Angela Merkel on June 7-8 hosts a leaders' meeting of the Group of Seven large industrialised democracies in the Elmau Castle luxury retreat in the southern state of Bavaria.
Anti-globalisation and other activists plan to rally against the meeting in their thousands while the host country, fearing violence, has reimposed border controls and mobilised 15,000 police nationwide to secure the meeting.
"At the moment it looks as if the state, the adminstration and the police are doing everything to prevent our demonstrations," co-organiser Claus Schreer told journalists in Munich.
He said organisers were still waiting for official permission for marches that would converge within sight of the summit venue on the opening day, June 7, threatening to take the case to court if necessary.
Organisers also accused the nearby Bavarian Alps city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen of using a pretext when they banned a planned protest camp on farmland, arguing that the site is threatened by flash floods.
Approved demonstrations include a June 4 rally with more than 10,000 expected participants in Munich, a protest in Garmish-Partenkirchen on June 6 with 5,000-10,000 people expected, and a smaller rally there on June 8.
Daytime protests against the G7 -- which groups Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States -- are also permitted from June 4-7 at the train stations of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Klais and Mittenwald.
Berlin has partially lifted the Schengen no-visa pact with its neighbours until mid-June, police said Tuesday, hoping to prevent violent protests like those that marred a European Central Bank meeting in Frankfurt in March.
The "Stop G7 Elmau" coalition on its website accuses the G7 of driving "neo-liberal economic policies, war and militarisation, exploitation, poverty and hunger, environmental degradation" and shutting borders to refugees.
© 2015 AFP