Clashes at Heiligendamm Ahead of Summit: Police Use Water Cannon on Anti-G-8 Protesters
Around 10,000 protesters have broken into the no-demo area around the G-8 summit venue. Police used water cannon to disperse the groups. But protesters still appear to have been successful in blocking access to the Heiligendamm complex where the meeting of the Group of Eight is being held.
Protesters block an access road to Heiligendamm, where the summit of G-8 leaders began on Wednesday.
Police forces and anti-G-8 protesters had both been preparing for the encounter for months. The demonstrators were determined to get as close to the G-8 summit venue as possible, while the police were equally determined to stop them. On Wednesday, though, protesters succeeded in blocking the main access road to the summit venue, with the aim of preventing delegates and their entourages from reaching the hotel where G-8 leaders are meeting.
Nevertheless, the blockade posed few problems for the world leaders arriving on Wednesday. Most flew directly to Heiligendamm by helicopter after landing at the nearby Rostock-Laage Airport.
Police used water cannons on anti-G-8 demonstrators near the town of Bad Doberan Wednesday after they entered the no-protest zone around the summit venue. Around 10,000 demonstrators entered the zone on Wednesday morning, violating a ban on protests in the area around the summit. They had avoided police roadblocks by simply walking through fields and woods.
According to police spokesman Lüdger Behrens, officers "used water cannons twice after demonstrators bombarded police with stones." He said the protesters were violating a ban on demonstrations in the area and might be detained.
Police said they were bringing in reinforcements by helicopter. Eight officers were reported to have been injured in the clashes with demonstrators near Bad Doberan.
Police appeared to have been taken off guard by the protesters' tactics. The unexpected success of the demonstrators' strategy is likely to lead to awkward questions for the police, who have already been the target of criticism this week after Saturday's riots in Rostock.
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