Saturday, June 2, 2007

Violence Reported From G-8 Protests In Germany -- But Some Reports Seem Very Fishy!

[Updated below]

We've had somewhat conflicting news accounts of protests in Rostock, Germany, near the resort of Heiligendamm where the G-8 meetings will take place beginning Wednesday.

From Canada dot Com:

Thousands stream to Rostock to protest upcoming G-8 summit
Buses and trains from across Europe streamed into the northern German port city of Rostock today, bringing thousands of protesters to the largest-yet demonstration over the upcoming G-8 meeting of industrialized powers.

Some 13,000 police were on hand, and organizers said they expect up to 100,000 protesters ...
The 100,000 expected protesters didn't materialize -- it was more like 20,000 according to more recent reports, including one from EUX TV which also mentions a much smaller number of police:

Anti-G8 demonstration in Rostock smaller than expected
The largest of the planned demonstrations against this week's G8 summit got underway in the northern German port of Rostock Saturday with fewer than 30,000 anti-globalization protestors taking part, well down from the 100,000 expected by the organizers.

Some 5,000 uniformed officers were on hand to supervise two streams of marchers passing through the ancient Hanseatic port on their way to an evening rally at the harbour.

Many of the demonstrators, who include peace activists and environmentalists, arrived at two main gathering points on special trains or by bus, while others had camped near the city overnight.

The violence that police feared extremist groups would cause had not materialized by early afternoon.

The protest, under the slogan, "Another world is possible," was being held to oppose the G8 summit being held from Wednesday to Friday in the resort of Heiligendamm some 25 kilometres away.

In the city itself, shopkeepers and traders had battened down the hatches, protecting display windows with wooden boards.

Heiligendamm has been completely cordoned off amid concerns that democratic rights to demonstrate are being infringed.
Here's a bit more from Canada dot Com:

Thousands stream to Rostock to protest upcoming G-8 summit
Hours before the official start of the demonstration, authorities said more than 20,000 protesters had arrived.

Police helicopters hovered overhead as thousands of demonstrators danced to protest songs and waved flags outside the city’s main train station.
A later report from Reuters AlterNet was the first to mention violence:

Protesters attack police after Rostock anti-G8 demo
Protesters threw stones and bottles and attacked police officers with sticks in the German port of Rostock on Saturday after a largely peaceful demonstration against next week's Group of Eight summit.

A group of demonstrators set upon police after a series of marches in the town. Reuters witnesses saw demonstrators throwing bottles and cobblestones at riot police, who fired tear gas in response. Several people were detained.

"There was a massive outbreak against police officers. Stones were thrown and they used sticks too," said a police spokeswoman. She could give no details on injuries or the number of people detained. According to police around 20,000 people gathered in the Baltic port city to protest against the G8 summit in Heiligendamm on June 6-8. Police said around 500 potential troublemakers were among the crowd.
A more recent report comes from the AP Wire via Ohio's Beacon-Journal and has the protesters throwing not only sticks and stones and bottles, but also flagpoles!:

G-8 protests turn violent in Germany
Demonstrators protesting the upcoming G-8 summit meeting hurled stones and flagpoles at police on Saturday, a spokeswoman said, describing a scene of chaos in the harbor of this northern port city.

"There are massive assaults on police officers at the city's harbor right now," said Cordula Feichtinger, a police spokeswoman. "The situation is currently very chaotic and we have to get it under control before I can tell you how many people have been arrested."

Police helicopters hovered overhead as thousands of demonstrators marched behind a truck streaming out soap bubbles and carrying a rock band that played anti-globalization songs.

Some protesters covered their heads and faces with black hoods, sun glasses and scarves, while others chanted protest slogans through megaphones, blowing whistles and waving flags. Riot police videotaped the demonstration.
I'll be watching the net for photos or videos of protesters throwing flagpoles, but somehow I don't think I'll find any.

From Turkish Press we see that the protesters' weaponry is still escalating; now it includes not only flagpoles but also Molotov cocktails and fireworks too:

Protestors clash with police at anti-G8 demo in Germany
Several hundred protestors taking part in a demonstration against next week's G8 summit hurled Molotov cocktails, bottles and fireworks at police Saturday.

The stone-throwing demonstrators, many wearing black masks and hoods, appeared to be from far-left groups, AFP reporters at the scene said.

A police spokesman said: "They were definitely seeking a confrontation with the police."

Police brought the situation in Rostock, a northeastern port near the G8 venue of Heiligendamm, under control.

Eyewitnesses said some demonstrators appeared to have been injured in the clashes.

Earlier, a group of a dozen demonstrators smashed the windows of a police car.

The Rostock demonstration kicks off a week of protests against the three-day summit of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States, which starts on Wednesday.
Pretty soon they'll be throwing the cars whose windows they smashed ... picking up buildings and tossing them over their shoulders ... sinking the ships anchored in the harbor ... you know, all the standard protest stuff.

Does anybody believe this?


LATER: Things got a lot worse than they appeared when this post was written. For an update on the situation, please click here.