Clumps of bedraggled-looking 20-somethings sat crowded under the few trees to escape the hot sun. A few children ran around playing in the neighboring field. Dozens had succumbed to the exhaustion of manning the blockades all night -- and the sleep deprivation resulting from long festive nights in the three camps set up for protestors a few kilometers away.
Indeed, with the police having backed off on the attempts to clear people from the no-demo area originally foreseen to keep protesters far away from the fence, the only thing left to fight seems to be the boredom.
"I'm really looking forward to opening the papers tomorrow and seeing images of peace rather than the water cannons from yesterday," said Sabine Neuhausen, 35, as she lounged under the leafy branches of a linden tree. "This is a great party."
Many gathered just in front of the 30 or so police preventing people from getting any closer to the east entrance of the Heiligendamm enclosure. But they weren’t there to confront the cops. Rather, one young man had taken it upon himself to provide a bit of entertainment. At his behest, about 100 demonstrators were trying to teach the riot gear-clad police, some clearly uncomfortable in the hot sun, how to do the wave cheer. Each time the police failed to react, a groan went up from the crowd.
Getting to the site had become surprisingly simple. On the road down from Bad Doberan only a very few police were to be seen. And those who were on the road, with about 10 police vans, were complaining that they could go neither forward nor backward. Two groups of about 20 demonstrators each had sat down in the road blocking their way. The police, it seemed, didn't want a repeat of Wednesday when countless blockades were broken up with water cannons and pepper spray, only to see protesters erect another blockade down the road.
Some groups were practicing conflict situations, should the police elect to clear the road. Others were lounging in makeshift hammocks in the trees. Big clumps of razor wire, which had been ripped off the top of the fence the night before, lined parts of the road. And everywhere more and more people streamed towards the fence.
In the distance, helicopters circled. There were reports that a blockade on the other side of the summit venue was being cleared by the police.
Indeed police have said that 220 arrests have been made. But on the east side, it looks to be nap time. Many of the demonstrators are planning to stay the night.
-- Charles Hawley in Bad Doberan, 4 p.m. CET
Rock Star Activists Disappointed With Merkel
Bob Geldof and Bono met with Angela Merkel at the G-8 summit in Heiligendamm Wednesday. But they weren't happy about her "wait and see" attitude on aid for Africa. Meanwhile Bush expressed his support for "Bono for president."
Ireland may not be a member of the G-8 but two of its most famous sons are at the gathering of world leaders to lobby on behalf of Africa. Rockers Bono and Bob Geldof met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday at Heiligendamm --but came away disappointed, saying they were far from hopeful of an agreement on aid to Africa at the summit.
The two rockers said on Wednesday that the talks had been tough. "We agree on the goal but now how to get there," Bono said, adding that anti-poverty campaigners were losing patience with the German leader's "language of wait and see."
The men want German and other G-8 countries to live up to their commitments to boost foreign aid spending to 0.7 percent of GDP by 2015. Currently Germany only spends 0.36 percent. The U2 frontman said: "We have to educate the German people," who want to help Africa and Geldof urged Germany to seize the moment and be "bold" in its approach to Africa.
Bono said that Merkel was an "honorable person" but that he wanted to see "the visionary side of her and we saw the practical side." He said he found it difficult sometimes to believe her when she said "trust me."
Bono, Geldof and Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour also met with US President George W. Bush later Wednesday.
"Hanging out in good company, aren't I?" Bush quipped. It seems even the president of the United States can get a little star-struck -- earlier he had shouted to an aide: "Where's Bono? Bono for president!"
Bono is to join other stars to sing at an anti-poverty concert in Rostock on Thursday. The "Voices Against Poverty" concert will also feature Geldof and N'Dour alongside German acts Die Toten Hosen and Herbert Grönemeyer, as well as artists representing the world's eight poorest nations.
-- Siobhán Dowling, 10:30 a.m. CET
Detour to the Dark Side
On Thursday morning, a road sign to Heiligendamm was found to give directions to the "Evil Empire" instead of to the seaside resort which is the summit venue.
However hawks in the American delegation might interpret the mis-direction as a satirical statement on Russian President Vladimir Putin. The phrase "evil empire" was used by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s to designate the Soviet Union, then the US's arch-enemy. If the superpowers really are on the brink of a new Cold War, as many have suggested with an eye to current tension between Bush and Putin over the US's planned missile shield in Europe, then the phrase may soon be retrieved from the dustbin of lexicography.
-- David Gordon Smith, 11 a.m. CET
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