Protests continue before G-8 summit in Germany

4th June 2007, Comments 0 comments

4 June 2007, ROSTOCK, Germany (AP) _ Protesters clashed with police on Monday before this week's Group of Eight summit as anti-globalization activists challenged attempts by German security officials to keep them away from the summit town of Heiligendamm.

4 June 2007

ROSTOCK, Germany (AP) _ Protesters clashed with police on Monday before this week's Group of Eight summit as anti-globalization activists challenged attempts by German security officials to keep them away from the summit town of Heiligendamm.

About 800 protesters demonstrated outside Rostock's immigration office demanding "global freedom of movement and equal rights for all," including refugees and asylum seekers. After a peaceful start, the demonstration turned violent and "some protesters started to throw bottles at officers," police spokesman Lyder Behrens said.

The news web site Spiegel Online reported that a photojournalist was injured and four people were detained when 400 radical demonstrators clashed with police. Police could not immediately confirm the report.

Another 20,000 demonstrators were expected to hold an anti-G-8 rally in downtown Rostock later Monday.

On Saturday, around 3,000 black-hooded anti-G-8 protesters had pelted police with rocks and bottles in Rostock. Authorities said more than 400 officers were injured, 30 of whom were hospitalized with broken bones and lacerations. Organizers said 520 demonstrators were hurt, 20 of them seriously. More than 2,000 radical protesters were still in Rostock on Monday, police said.

Authorities also continued spot checks on roads leading to Heiligendamm.

Germany's Constitutional Court announced Monday that an alliance of activist groups had challenged a lower court's ban on protests outside of Heiligendamm.

That ban came into force last week, when public access to Heiligendamm was shut off. Authorities had announced earlier that, starting on Wednesday, the demonstration ban will be expanded to six kilometers (3.7 miles) beyond a 12-kilometer (7.5-mile) long fence that was built around Heiligendamm. It was not clear when the Karlsruhe-based court was to rule the case.

The government said Monday that 85 people had been refused entry to Germany before the summit and that 15-20 percent of those who were detained temporarily during Saturday's riots in Rostock had been foreign nationals.

Germany is determined to avoid a repeat of violence that has marred previous G-8 summits, notably in Genoa, Italy, in 2001, where one protester was killed. It has reinforced its border controls.

However, anti-globalization activists have complained that the security measures surrounding the June 6-8 summit are excessive.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in an interview on the n-tv news channel Sunday, deplored the "terrible, dreadful pictures" of violent protesters clashing with police. "Violence is no way to solve things and shows that the police methods are necessary," she said.

Merkel has defended security measures such as pre-summit raids on the offices of protest groups, some of whom have vowed to try to disrupt the summit by blocking roads leading to Heiligendamm. She has also said, however, that peaceful protesters have every right to make their point.

The situation around Heiligendamm was calm Monday. At the summit, Merkel will host the leaders of Britain, France, Japan, Italy, Russia, Canada and the U.S. for discussions on issues including global warming, aid to Africa and the world economy.

DPA

Subject: German news

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