News ID: 196364
Published: 1026 GMT July 09, 2017

German FM: Country’s reputation “severely affected” by Hamburg disturbances

German FM: Country’s reputation “severely affected” by Hamburg disturbances

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Sunday called for a Europe-wide hunt for violent protesters who rioted in Hamburg around the G20 summit.

Gabriel, who is also deputy chancellor, warned in a column for Bild, the top-selling newspaper, that Germany’s reputation had been “severely affected” by the disturbances, which flared up between late Saturday and early Sunday in a third night of violence, Financial Times reported.

Fresh clashes erupted early Sunday in the streets of Hamburg following the end of the G20 summit, with protesters setting fire to a number of vehicles, police said.

Protesters gathered after the close of the summit in the Schanzen district, a stronghold for extreme-left radicals which has been the site of multiple confrontations since Thursday, AFP reported.

Armed with glass bottles and targeting vehicles, many of which they set on fire, the protesters were pushed back by officers, using water cannon and tear gas, police said on Twitter.

Hamburg police said that 186 people had been arrested over the three days of violence, and a further 225 put into temporary detention. Nearly 500 police officers have been injured.

President Frank-Walter Steinmeier visited wounded officers in hospital Sunday morning with Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz, saying he was "shocked and dismayed" by the "will to destroy shown by demonstrators against police and private citizens' property".

"We must ask ourselves as democrats whether a few violent protesters can keep countries such as Germany from holding such international meetings," Steinmeier told reporters.

Scholz thanked the "heroic" police for their service and the citizens of Hamburg who brought flowers to a military hospital where many officers were being treated, pledging compensation for those who suffered losses from vandalism.

He dismissed criticism by some peaceful demonstrators that the police had been excessive in their crackdown and called for "lengthy jail sentences" for participants in the riots.

The explosion of violence at the meeting sparked pointed questions over how Hamburg could descend into "mob rule" and why Chancellor Angela Merkel chose a hotbed of leftist militancy as the venue.

The German police officers' union has accused radical protesters of "hijacking" mainly peaceful demonstrations against the G20 meeting

Hamburg, a vibrant port city, is a citadel of anti-capitalist radicals and authorities had long been bracing for possible violence on the sidelines of the summit.

On Thursday, a planned peaceful march by around 12,000 people protesting against globalization turned violent as a hard core of so-called black bloc masked anarchists attacked police and rampaged through city streets.

The German police officers' union GdP on Friday hit out at the black bloc, accusing them of "hijacking peaceful demonstrations by tens of thousands of people to deliberately attack" police.

The clashes occurred as leaders from the world's 20 biggest developed and emerging economies held a two-day meeting focusing on trade, terrorism, climate change and other key global issues.


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