What is the G20 Summit protests? Everything you need to know

According to reports, some parts of protests on Thursday focused on environmental issues, with many expressing concerns that G20 countries are responsible for approximately 75 per cent of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published:July 7, 2017 2:12 pm
Police officers are silhouetted by fires lit by demonstrators during a protest against the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, Thursday, July 6, 2017. The leaders of the group of 20 meet July 7 and 8. AP/PTI

Anti-capitalist protests against G20 Summit in Hamburg town of Germany turned violent Thursday evening after clashes erupted between protesters and police officers. German riot police engaged in clashes with thousands of protesters that gathered at the venue. Police officers were seen drawing water cannons on protesters and pepper spray while the crowd continued to threw bottles and smoke bombs. According to Reuters, at least 75 police officers were injured in the protests, out of which three were admitted in hospitals for treatment.

At least 13000 protesters joined the protest march on Thursday, including around 1000 black-clad and masked anarchists, police told Reuters. The protesters, carrying “Welcome to Hell” signs, also resorted to vandalism as they damaged cars and set vehicles on fire.

Here is everything you need to know about the protests:

Who are the protesters?

“Welcome to Hell” protests were organised by Left-wing organisations in Germany. It was part of the 30 anti-G20 protests registered in Germany in last few weeks. Anti-capitalist protesters from all across Europe gathered to take part in the protests in Hamburg. Students from US, Canada, and other countries also gathered. With focus on climate change before this summit, members of several environmental organisations also participated in the protests.

What are the reasons for the protest?

Hamburg : Black dressed demonstrators attend a protest titled “G20 Welcome to hell” against the G-20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany, Thursday, July 6, 2017. The leaders of the group of 20 meet July 7 and 8. AP/PTI

G-20 summits, over the years, has seen protests with European citizens believing the international organisation has largely failed to contain and find solutions to many of the issues that threaten world peace. The protests largely circle around the concern that the topic of discussion between the nations remains largely focused on “capitalist” agendas of the nations, and does not take immediate issues of public in its purview. A student protester in Hamburg, Nicklas, 21, told CNN, “I came here because in general I’m totally against the G20 summit… It’s the root cause or reason for what’s going wrong in the world. Wars can be bad but capitalism kills.”

Julia Kulik, a researcher with the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, in an article said, “The G20 was founded to make globalization for the benefit of all” but the public no longer believes the summit is “for the people”, especially after actions such as big-bank bailouts.

Another concern regarding the annual global summit is the overall transparency of the closed-door meetings between world leaders. Kulik says the press conferences after the summit are flooded with “political jargon”. Some believe the Summit is often held in countries with relatively lesser press freedom.

According to reports, some parts of protests on Thursday focused on environmental issues, with many expressing concerns that G20 countries are responsible for approximately 75 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The interior of a burnt down car is seen as firefighters work in the background during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

In an article on the Guardian, Srećko Horvat, a Croatian philosopher, who came to protest against G20, wrote, “The real problem is the dogmatic slumber of the leaders of the free world, represented at this G20 summit by Merkel, May and others, which is the origin of our current dystopian nightmare (wars, terrorism, the refugee crisis and climate change). In this sense, the current G20 is not just a demonstration of disagreement on all fronts, but – after Hamburg – whether the G20 can continue to exist at all.”

How does the violent protests affect German Chancellor Angela Merkel?

Firefighters work at the scene where a number of cars burnt down during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Angela Merkel, who is currently campaigning to be elected as the leader for a consecutive fourth term, took a risk by deciding to hold the summit in the northern port of Hamburg. Merkel’s reason for holding the summit at relatively politically active location was to show that big protests can be tolerated in a healthy democracy. The violent clashes that erupted Thursday between protesters and riot police in Hamburg might not work in her favour.

It increases the necessity for Merkel to seek consensus among the G20 leaders as Summit host, on the divisive issues of climate policy and trade. With Trump’s stance against Paris Climate deal and his “America First” agenda, the discussions may not go down in her favour. Indonesian finance minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati in an interview to Reuters, said, “There is quite a delicate balance that Angela Merkel will have to navigate in a way, because it is not clear that being confrontational won’t just create even more of a credibility problem for G20 cooperation.”

What has happened before at other G-20 meetings?

German police remove protestors who are blocking a street at a demonstration during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski

While almost every G20 meeting witnesses protests, it has turned violent in few cases. In 2009, situations grew before the summit in London, after riot police charged down on a sit-down protest in city’s financial district before the summit. Around 4000 protesters had gathered at the spot. There were allegations of police brutality on protesters. Similar scenes were witnesses in Toronto in 2010 before the summit. In the largest mass arrest in the history of Canada, around 1000 protesters were arrested by the police and sent to detention centers.

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  1. B
    BHASKAR
    Jul 11, 2017 at 5:17 pm
    Wow... It really helped me a lot in understanding about why the protests are being done during G20 summits. Thank you for the info👍.
    Reply
    1. J
      James Brigham (Bigg) Bunyon
      Jul 9, 2017 at 3:00 am
      Why protest and riot? Because the scum of the Earth are paid to do it. They're brought in and they'll be shipped back home. It's all an organized plan to do nothing more than punish those the funding individuals believe need to be punished. The absurdity of the situations is the G20 attendees are neither harmed nor majorly effected. The ones being hurt so badly are the very ones they rioters say they want to defend and help. But hey, any excuse for a party and since it's not in your house just run wild.
      Reply
      1. M
        Mike
        Jul 8, 2017 at 10:18 pm
        So, they jet in from other countries(no carbon footprint there), then trash , burn, and waste resources required to quell the unruly activity(but they want peace), apparently want illegal immigrants(they should sponsor and house legal immigrants if it's a major issue). Maybe it's me but where do they get their resources for these activities?
        Reply
        1. R
          Richard Gerard Breault
          Jul 8, 2017 at 1:49 pm
          When those demonstrators stop consuming animal products and energy resources other than the alternative energy resources they will have my ear and support.
          Reply
          1. j
            jszube2
            Jul 7, 2017 at 10:05 pm
            Unfortunately, like all protests, they run the risk of losing support the more violent they become.
            Reply
            1. U
              Ubidi
              Jul 7, 2017 at 5:45 pm
              I wonder if burning cars help in anyway. Someone just lost a meant to go to work, to the hospital, someone just lost their life saving, makes no sense.
              Reply
              1. H
                Henry
                Jul 7, 2017 at 9:31 pm
                that is the only way to get the attention of the media and others. nothing comes without cost.
                Reply
                1. A
                  adamsmith
                  Jul 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm
                  If that was the case, they could burn just bare old uses tires as it in Poland to attract attention. These socialists burning expensive cars as a revenge for their own bad life decisions. Marxism is method to control society and create revolutions. They are young easy to control cattle, that think they know better because they grew up in an information bubble.
              2. R
                Rick Karg
                Jul 7, 2017 at 5:22 pm
                How do these kids get so ed up?
                Reply
                1. A
                  ajay
                  Jul 7, 2017 at 2:47 pm
                  A fair for anarchists hippies communists drug addicts ultra left promiscuous s. With " with everything " at ude.
                  Reply
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