By Tomáš Tengely-Evans in Hamburg
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It’s our world or theirs as protests take on the G20 rulers in Hamburg

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Issue 2562
Part of the monster demonstration against the G20 last Saturday
Part of the monster demonstration against the G20 last Saturday (Pic: Socialist Worker)

US president Donald Trump declared the G20 world rulers’ summit in Hamburg, Germany, last week a “wonderful success”.

But outside the summit centre the politicians were surrounded by protesters—and inside they were wracked with divisions.

By pulling the US out of the Paris climate treaty, pursuing a more “go it alone” foreign policy and favouring protectionism over free trade, Trump has antagonised other leaders.

Some, such as German chancellor Angela Merkel, pose as defenders of an enlightened, liberal order against the barbarian Trump.

Yet they praised him when, in Poland before the summit, he spoke in favour of the Nato imperialist alliance’s policy of “collective defence”.

Merkel and the rest of the G20 are fearful of what a loose cannon Trump is—but they push the same policies of war and climate chaos.

Trump’s attempt to ruthlessly assert US power is nothing new, but he is less able to unite the other Western European capitalist states behind US leadership.

As one former Nato commander said there was “no central US leadership role”.

Protesters from across the world descended on Hamburg to rage against inequality, racism, war, climate chaos—and capitalism.

They faced horrifying police violence.

A “Welcome to Hell” march to the G20 conference centre on the eve of the summit on Wednesday of last week was quickly blocked by riot police.


Cops demanded the removal of a section of the march wearing masks, as a pretext for their assault.

They launched a barrage of water cannon and salvoes of pepper spray. But around 8,000 protesters regrouped and stayed on the streets late into the night.

Some 80,000 people turned the whole area into a sea of homemade banners, placards and red flags on Saturday.

While the G20 leaders represent all that’s wrong with the world, the marchers represented the alternative.

Karla, a university student from Hamburg, told Socialist Worker, “We want to show that people in our city disagree with the values of the worldview of those at the G20.”

Heavy-handed policing was again used to intimidate and contain the march. But protesters mocked the cops, playing the Imperial March from Star Wars as they passed them.

Numerous issues brought people out onto the streets.

Polo from Chile said, “The G20 leaders’ policies have made Latin America poor and full of dictators. They have imposed neoliberalism on us through their imperialist policies.”

Welcoming refugees is a central issue for the left in Hamburg, and many were angry at how the European Union has turned the Mediterranean Sea into a mass grave.

Mari said, “I don’t believe in borders—the only real border is between the rich and poor.”


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