An estimated 120,000 people from across Germany and different parts of the Europe, gathered in militant protest actions at Hamburg, Germany, on the eve of the G-20 Summit which began on July 7. Various protest actions had begun in Hamburg nearly two weeks before the Summit. These protest actions demonstrated the resentment of the world’s peoples against imperialism, the capitalist system, the plunder and devastation of nations, militarization and war.
Two views of massive protests against the G-20 Summit
The protestors carried banners and placards with slogans, denouncing the ruling class and leaders of the G-20 countries. They expressed the opposition of the working people in Europe and other countries to the capitalist system, which implies increasing exploitation, misery and insecurity for the working people. They opposed globalisation and privatisation, the job losses and severe cutbacks in social spending by governments, in the name of “austerity” measures. They opposed the imperialist strategies of the imperialist powers led by the USA, their wars of aggression, increasing militarization, the spreading of anarchy and violence, as well as increasing fascist attacks on the rights and freedoms of the working people. They expressed their opposition to the activities of the US and other imperialist powers, which are leading to destruction of nations and peoples, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes and countries and seek shelter elsewhere as refugees.
In order to discredit these massive protests of the working people and justify the savage reign of terror unleashed against them, the imperialist controlled media has carried out a deliberate campaign to portray the protestors as anarchist and violent.
In fact, the German government had used the occasion of the G-20 to rehearse placing a major urban center under virtual police rule. An estimated 20,000 police and some 3,000 vehicles, assembled from across the country, were deployed in Hamburg – Germany’s second largest city with a population of some 1.7 million – for this specific purpose. Heavily-armed paramilitary special units, such as sniper squads, were deployed at key locations in and around the venues where G-20 events were scheduled to take place. All access to such areas was blocked. Helicopters conducted continuous aerial surveillance. The people coming to Hamburg from different cities of Europe for the protest were closely monitored all the way by the police.
When the people began their peaceful march, the German state and police in Hamburg carried out a series of provocations, to justify brutal assault on the protestors. The demonstrators had barely moved ahead by about 300 metres, when dozens of police vehicles and several lines of riot police blocked their path. The police “warned” the protestors that “if there was violence” then they would “lose their legal right to protest”. Using the excuse provided by a few stray incidents of arson, the protestors were assaulted with water cannons and tear gas and then surrounded by shielded and baton-wielding riot police squads. They were severely beaten up. Hundreds of activists were arrested.
Following the incident, the protestors denounced the assault on their right to demonstrate. Many expressed anger at the fact that the German State had used the occasion of the protests against the G-20 summit to rehearse placing a major urban area under virtual police occupation.
Such brutal state repression on protestors and turning whole cities into armed camps has been a feature of the G-20 Summits over the past decade. This shows the brutality to which the capitalist states are resorting, throwing all pretense of “democracy” to the winds, to defend their exploitative and unjust system from the wrath of the peoples.
The protest actions at the G-20 Summit in Hamburg reveal that the people all over the world are bitterly opposed to the growing attacks on their livelihood and rights, to imperialist war, militarization and destructions of nations. They are demanding an end to this system of exploitation, repression and plunder. People all over the world are aspiring for a system in which their well-being and security will be the priority, not the profits of the biggest monopoly capitalists and the imperialist warmongers.