The media focused on the cat and mouse conflict between German riot police and a small section of protesters in Rostock. Meanwhile thousands travelled across Europe to make their voices heard and to underline the hypocrisy of the G8 summit.
Over 80,000 took part in the mass demonstration on 2 June. Our delegation of 15 Glasgow students marched behind the Stop the War banner with protesters from Germany, Holland and Austria.
We aimed to make sure the war was at the forefront of issues on the demo, and I believe we had a significant effect due to our energetic chanting.
Riots kicked off between police and the far outnumbered anarchist “black bloc”. It was eye-opening to witness the repressive tactics of police using water cannons and tear gas.
The following day was action for migrants. Thousands set out to peacefully demonstrate, but Rostock was occupied by police.
They surrounded the demo and held people there for around three hours. A group of seven of us were stopped and searched twice in five minutes on the same street. The authorities don’t realise that all those who came to Rostock to protest peacefully can only be radicalised by such repression.
The rest of the week was packed with actions, blockades and a counter-summit. Hundreds gathered at an international Stop the War rally to hear speakers from across the globe.
Our delegation – after much discussion – decided to attend the first blockade of Heiligendamm.
As a sea of activists arrived off the trains, it became evident that waiting on buses to the assembly point was not going to be practical. A spontaneous demo took off through the streets chanting “Anti Capitalista” and “Internationale Solidarite” up to the assembly point to meet thousands more.
Over 10,000 blockaded the four gates of the G8 summit. Despite the largest security mobilisation in Germany since the Second World War, the G8 officials had to resort to flying delegates and supplies in by helicopter.
For me, the point of these protests was to delegitimise the G8 summit, to not allow them to meet under the pretence of being serious about solving the world’s problems, and to highlight that these problems result from the very system of imperialism that the G8’s existence depends upon.
It was also important to hear from sections of the movement from across Europe, and a particularly important experience for our delegation who have been radicalised by what they saw and took part in on the protests and blockades.