Socialist Worker

Riot cops’ repression fails to stop protests against the G20 leaders in Hamburg

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2562

US president Donald Trump

US president Donald Trump (Pic: Noopy420/Wikimedia Commons)

Thousands of protesters are back on the streets of Hamburg, Germany, after brutal police assaults on them last night, Thursday.

They are protesting against the G20 summit that brings together the world's ruling class, including racist warmonger Donald Trump, this weekend.

The authorities are clamping down on protest ahead a mass demonstration tomorrow, Saturday. Niels, an activist from the Netherlands, told Socialist Worker, “One of the two coaches coming from the Netherlands got stopped at the border. They had to wait for hours and then were turned back.

“We’ve been here since Tuesday, we’ve been preparing for a lot of the Dutch activists to get here.”

The media is reporting that only around 10,000 people were involved. But Niels said, “We had a demonstration on Wednesday and there were around 20,000 people on it.

“People are continually travelling in and we’ve been getting support from within the city.”

Protesters had planned a “Welcome to Hell” march last night from the harbour area to the G20 conference centre ahead of the summit beginning this morning.

But after only around 300 metres the demonstration was blocked by the German riot police.

Cops demanded that a section of the march wearing masks, the “black block”, be removed as a pretext for their assault.

They launched a barrage of water cannon and salvos of pepper spray—to drive a wedge into the demonstration and separate off this group.

The assault forced some of the militant sections of the protest to disperse into side streets.

But the rest of the march ploughed through later on—and around 8,000 protesters regrouped in Hamburg and stayed on the streets late into the night.

Several smaller skirmishes took place with cops in Hamburg's Altona and St Pauli districts, home to the left wing football club.

The G20 summit comes at a time of intense crisis for the global ruling class.

Opening the summit German chancellor Angela Merkel tried to paper over some of the divisions, admitting that the different rulers are “unlikely to reach agreement”.

The summit is overshadowed by Donald Trump. Among the topics world leaders will discuss include North Korea and climate change.

Trump has taken a more openly aggressive stance towards North Korea—and ramped up imperialist tensions across from Asia to the Middle East.

Trump also unilaterally pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement that was signed in December 2014.He met Russian president Vladimir Putin for the first time today.

The liberal media in the US and some world leaders have been critical of Trump’s links with the Russian ruler.

Some of Trump’s actions have put him at odds with other global leaders. They see Trump’s rhetoric about “America First”, such as not abiding by free trade agreements, as a threat to their liberal capitalist order.

While Trump wants the US to return to a more “go it alone” imperialist foreign policy, other world leaders offer no alternative.

All the world leaders at the G20 summit stand for a capitalist society that puts profit above people and the planet. They want more austerity, more racism, more war—to protect their power and the global corporations’ profits.

The protesters against them this weekend represent the fight against those sorts of horrors—and for a different sort of socialist society altogether.

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