By Tomáš Tengely-Evans in Hamburg
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Tens of thousands join demonstrations against the G20 in Hamburg

This article is over 6 years, 11 months old
Issue 2562
A view of the huge demonstration against the G20 in Hamburg on Saturday
A view of the huge demonstration against the G20 in Hamburg on Saturday (Pic: Socialist Worker)

Tens of thousands of people marched in Hamburg, Germany, in a show of defiance against the G20 world rulers’ summit today, Saturday.

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

Polo from Chile was part of a Latin American delegation. “The G20 leaders policies have made Latin America poor and full of dictators.

“They have imposed neoliberalism on us through their imperialist policies. What’s happening in Venezuela is dangerous—it could lead to more of this.”

He added, “This demonstration is about showing them that there’s a movement that can stop them.”

Crowds streamed into Willy Brandt Street for hours before the march moved off. Even before the official start time, they had turned the whole area into a sea of homemade banners, placards and red flags.

Many protesters were angry at how the world’s rulers are unaccountable to anyone but the bosses. As Nicholas from Hamburg told Socialist Worker, “The G20 leaders make policies for the world without other countries or people having a say.

“This demonstration is about making a statement that we will have our voices heard.”


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

As the demonstration gathered riot vans, with sirens screaming, circled in the nearby streets to show off the police’s power.

Menacing paramilitary-like cops patrolled the front of the demonstration and later forced it to march at their slow pace.

In the side streets there were separate police detachments ready to move in against protesters. But marchers mocked the cops, playing The Imperial March as they passed them.

Numerous issues brought people out onto the streets. For some TTIP, CETA and other neoliberal trade agreements were the main thing, for others it was the use of Hamburg’s port to ship weapons abroad.

At the front of the march the largest and liveliest blocs were Kurdish groups marching in solidarity with the YPG militia fighting in Syria.


Many were also angry at how the European Union (EU) has turned the Mediterranean into a mass grave for refugees. Kira, from the Jugend Rettet refugee support group, told Socialist Worker, “They want to stop any migration into Europe, but they should be taking the biggest share.

“We’re demanding that they give all refugees safe and legal passage. There are groups like us helping refugees, but it should be the EU doing that.”

Solidarity with refugees is one of the biggest issues that left wing groups organise around in Hamburg—and much of this activity includes refugees who’ve fled to Europe themselves.

Abimbola is a Nigerian refugee and is part of the Lampedusa in Hamburg group. “We’ve been here for three years and want to have the right to stay and have a better life,” he told Socialist Worker.

“We’re here to remind the Hamburg government that it should guarantee us those rights.”

He added, “The G20 support corrupt politicians in Africa because it suits them, they should let Africans decide their own destiny without Western interference.”

All these groups and individuals were united against the ills that flow from the capitalist system. As protester Mari told Socialist Worker, “I don’t believe in borders—the only real border is between the rich and poor.

“What the G20 is doing is part of a general attack on the working class, we have to take that on.”

The G20 summit shows up everything that’s wrong with our society—but this mass demonstration is a sign of the sorts of struggles that can overthrow it.

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