+++ G-20 Newsblog in English +++ Heavily Armed Special Unit Deployed to Stop Violence

German security agencies have deployed a machine gun-wielding unit in Hamburg to stop violent protests that have disrupted the G-20 currently taking place.
  • 7/7/17 9:17 PM
  • 7/7/17 9:10 PM
    A Sparkasse savings bank has been broken into in the Schanzenviertel neighborhood of Hamburg, reports SPIEGEL ONLINE reporter Sven Becker. Rioters seem to have the upper hand in parts of the neighborhood. "This is what anarchy looks like," Becker says. 
    (Photo: Reuters)
  • 7/7/17 8:20 PM
    The situation in the Schanzenviertel neighborhood of Hamburg is getting tense. "The Black Bloc is doing whatever they want," says SPIEGEL ONLINE reporter Dominik Peters. "The quarter is surrounded by riot police and water cannon. There are many onlookers, but also small groups of Black Bloc rioters, and their numbers are increasing. Young men are carrying up to four bottles of white wine and bragging that they stole them out of a shop. The mood is becoming increasingly testy." (Photo: Getty Images)
  • 7/7/17 8:15 PM
  • 7/7/17 8:13 PM
    A passerby told SPIEGEL ONLINE reporter Fabian Pieper that he took money out of an ATM at a Sparkasse savings bank in Hamburg as black-clad demonstrators destroyed the other ATMs next to him. They left the man alone as he took out his money before, once he was finished, destroying the last working ATM at the bank. "It was very strange. I am the last one who was able to take out money. I hope they don't get in trouble for letting me finish," the man said laughing. (Photo: SPIEGEL ONLINE)
  • 7/7/17 7:42 PM
    It's dinner time at the G-20.
  • 7/7/17 7:18 PM
    Spiegel reporters say that many of the people on the street have now just come out to see what is going on.
    Meanwhile, police have updated the count of injured officers to 196.
    • (Photo: Getty Images) (Photo: Getty Images)
  • 7/7/17 6:00 PM
    Russia and the U.S. have produced contradictory accounts of the two-hour meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, during which the U.S. president brought up the vexed question of Russian interference in last year's U.S. presidential election.
    While U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that the two countries may never agree on what happened, his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov said that Trump had accepted Putin's denial that Moscow had interfered. Russia also demanded the U.S. produce any evidence they had.
    Tillerson also said that a working group would be set up to create a framework on cyber-crime and non-interference in elections.
    During the course of the meeting, which was only scheduled to last 30 minutes, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. and Russia had agreed a cease-fire deal in southwest Syria, which Tillerson welcomed as the "first indication of the U.S. and Russia being able to work together in Syria".
  • 7/7/17 5:14 PM
    Barricades are being erected on the streets of St. Pauli in preparation for tonight's altercations, says Der Spiegel's Mathieu von Rohr:
  • 7/7/17 5:09 PM
    Angela Merkel's eye-roll while talking to President Putin is well on the way to becoming an internet meme.
  • 7/7/17 5:03 PM
  • 7/7/17 4:58 PM
    Der Spiegel's Mathieu von Rohr has tweeted an image of the remnants of a small fire lit by anti-G-20 protesters, who, he says, like to lay decoy fires around the city to distract police and fire brigades.
  • 7/7/17 4:46 PM
    SPIEGEL ONLINE's Florian Gathmann has tweeted from inside the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, which, he says, is filling up slowly - though most of the world leaders are yet to arrive. The concert is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. German time.
  • 7/7/17 4:42 PM
  • 7/7/17 4:39 PM
    Angela Merkel's verdict on the first day of the G-20 is in: there's still "a lot of work to do" on the major issues of climate protection and world trade, the chancellor said.
    But she also had some success to report: apparently everyone agreed on the basic aims of the fight against terrorism: better intelligence exchange between partners, more effective financial asset freezing measures, and a more concerted effort to shut down terrorist content on the internet.
  • 7/7/17 4:14 PM
    Angela Merkel is now in the Elbphilharmonie concert hall, waiting for the special concert for G-20 leaders to begin. But Trump and Putin are still in their bilateral meeting.
    Demonstrators say they are trying to get as close as possible to the concert hall. Crowds are being dispersed from the walkways some two kilometers away, while several boats have been stopped from approaching the Elphilharmonie, which is situated right on the banks of the River Elbe.
  • 7/7/17 4:13 PM
  • 7/7/17 4:05 PM
    • Police are driving people away from the jetty with multiple water cannon. (Photo: dpa) Police are driving people away from the jetty with multiple water cannon. (Photo: dpa)
  • 7/7/17 3:37 PM
    View of the Hamburg jetty (Video: SPIEGEL ONLINE)
  • 7/7/17 2:47 PM
    "President Putin and I have been discussing various things and I think it's going very well. ... It's an honor to be with you." Such was Trump's statement at his historic first meeting as president with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin said he was happy to be with Trump and said he hoped the meeting would yield results, adding that telephone conversations weren't enough.
    Questions posed to the leaders about possible Russian influence on the U.S. election were not answered. But with a special investigation into the matter ongoing in the U.S., there has been great interest in what might be the result of their first face-to-face. Trump recently sharpened his tone against Moscow, accusing Russia of "destabilizing behavior" during his pre-G-20 visit in Poland.
  • 7/7/17 1:43 PM
    In what could be understood as a message to U.S. President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin has spoken out at the G-20 in favor of free trade. "We are opposed to the protectionism that is spreading around the world," he said on Friday. Russia's Interfax news agency quoted him as saying that limits on trade and finances often have a political background and are meant to hinder competitors. Putin's comments echo a guest op-ed he wrote for the German business daily Handelsblatt, in which he likewise underscored his opposition to protectionism.
    SPIEGEL ONLINE reporter Benjamin Bidder, however, has his doubts about Putin's sincerity:
  • 7/7/17 1:26 PM
    Photo time, please turn around. Yes, everybody....
    The photo was taken at the first meeting of all G-20 participants. U.S. President Donald Trump used the gathering to talk about the successes of the U.S. economy since his election. He then proceeded to speak at length about North Korea, though it's not on the agenda.
  • 7/7/17 1:13 PM
    German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has given an interview with the German tabloid Bild in which he comments on the rioting in Hamburg. "Brutal violence has no place on our streets. There is no justification for it and cannot expect understanding. I have the utmost respect, on the other hand, for those who express themselves – also through protest – in a manner guaranteed by our constitution and for the police who make it possible for Germany to be a good host for important and necessary discussions."
  • 7/7/17 12:13 PM
    Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, pictured with her Argentinean counterpart Juliana Awada, wife of President Mauricio Macri, taking part in the G-20 partners' program at the Hamburg harbor
    • (Photo: Jorg Sarbach/Getty Images) (Photo: Jorg Sarbach/Getty Images)
  • 7/7/17 12:06 PM
  • 7/7/17 11:57 AM
    Hamburg police have tweeted that several of their officers were injured with pellet shot fired by demonstrators yesterday. "Our fears were confirmed," the tweet said.
  • 7/7/17 11:15 AM
    News agencies are reporting that Melania Trump is stuck in her guest residence because of the G-20 protests. A spokeswoman for the first lady told the DPA news agency that they had not received the all-clear from the police to leave the Hamburg residence where she is staying with president Donald Trump.
    Melania Trump was due to join Angela Merkel's husband Joachim Sauer and other partners of G-20 leaders to visit the German Climate Computing Center and go on a sightseeing tour of the port of Hamburg.  
    Sauer has already greeted Brigitte Macron, wife of newly elected French President Emmanuel Macron, and Philip May, husband of British Prime Minister Theresa May.
  • 7/7/17 11:00 AM
    EU Council President Donald Tusk has called on the G-20 to work with the United Nations to come up with concrete proposals to counter the human-trafficking of refugees.
    Speaking in Hamburg on Friday morning, Tusk said it was a "humanitarian task" to be "relentless in the fight against the smugglers." Thousands of people have died in the deserts of northern Africa and the Mediterranean Sea in the last few years attempting to make their way to Europe, Tusk said, while human-traffickers in Libya alone made an estimated $1.6 billion last year alone.
    Tusk said there needed to be more significant "international efforts" to destroy the smugglers' business model, including freezing assets and imposing travel bans on recognized traffickers. He said that not enough had been done yet.
  • 7/7/17 10:51 AM
    • This image speaks for itself. (Photo: dpa) This image speaks for itself. (Photo: dpa)
  • 7/7/17 10:49 AM
    US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin have met for the first time at the G-20. Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the two men had shaken hands, and added that a bilateral meeting would take place during the course of the day.
  • 7/7/17 8:44 AM
    During the G-20 summit this afternoon, climate protection policies will also be on the agenda. German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks of the center-left Social Democrats says she expects a clear pledge of commitment on environmental and climate protection from the G-20 states. U.S. President Donald Trump's behavior has served only to draw the rest of the international community closer together, she told the Passauer Neue Presse newspaper. Trump has "isolated himself," she said.
    In June, Trump announced the U.S. would pull out of the Paris Agreement on climate protection. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hoping to find the greatest possible common ground on climate policy at the summit. People close to the negotiations say that the remaining countries want to stress the "irreversibility" of the Paris Agreement.
    "In international politics, you should never give up the hope that the person sitting across from you might learn something in talks," Hendricks told the paper. "But I have to admit, in Trump's case it's hard for me to imagine that." Given that Trump is a successful businessman, though, she said, "I'm surprised he wants to cede tomorrow's technologies to other people. I feel sorry for the U.S., but we cannot allow anyone to stand in our way when it comes to climate protection." The Paris Agreement, she said, is "nonnegotiable."
  • 7/7/17 8:31 AM
    Officials are reporting that 111 police have been injured so far in rioting on periphery of the G-20 summit. Figures have not yet been released for the number of demonstrators who have been hurt. Police said there have been 29 arrests of G-20 opponents and 15 had been detained as of Friday morning. 
    German Justice Minister Heiko Maas has condemned the violent protests and defended the actions of police and security officials. "Those who commit crimes in the guise of the right to demonstrate don't belong on the streets, they belong in court," Maas said on Friday at a meeting of EU justice ministers in Tallinn, Estonia. 
    He said it was important that those who commit violent acts during protests be brought to justice, because this is the only way to ensure the right to peaceful protests. "In places like Hamburg where these crimes are committed, they have to be investigated. And that's what Hamburg police did last night in a very determined way," the politician said. 
  • 7/7/17 8:23 AM
    The group Attac, which is critical of globalization, has accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of staging a "cynical production" as the G-20 summit opens. Alexis Passadakis of the group says that although Merkel may be positioning herself as the "leader of the free world," with its "multilateral policies for more free trade, the German government is actually pursuing an aggressive export surplus strategy that is creating serious global imbalances, economic instability and political tensions."
    From Attac's perspective, the G-20 has "no legitimate foundations in international law." "Instead of effectively disarming the financial markets, he argues the G-20 has rescued neoliberal financial market capitalism at the costs of the lower end of the population. That has led to greater social inequality rather than global equality." He said Attac plans to take to the streets in order to "throw a spanner in the works" of the summit.
    Earlier Friday, German Development Minister Gerd Müller called for a strong message about fair trade with Africa to come out of the G-20 summit. "We, the rich nations, made Africa poor. The G-20 could change that," the conservative politician told a network of German regional newspapers. He said a "Marshall Plan" for Africa could be decisive in those efforts. The plan could help to create jobs for an additional 20 million young people per year in Africa, he said. "If they don't find jobs at home, they will leave," he added, alluding to Europe's refugee crisis.
    Despite progress that has been made in negotiations on agricultural subsidies in G-20 nations that have a distorting effect, more needs to be done, the minister warned. "Wouldn't it make a lot more sense for us to open our markets to fruit and olives from Tunisia and allowing Tunisians to earn money here rather than sending our tax money to them in the form of aid?" He argued that the G-20 summit needs to ensure that agricultural and trade policies are "harmonized with development policy" in the future.
  • 7/7/17 7:56 AM
    This video by Hamburg journalist Axel Hahne taken on Thursday night shows just how serious some of the clashes between violent protesters and police are getting in Hamburg during the G-20 summit. Hahne took the video near the city's Millerntor Stadium. 
  • 7/7/17 7:50 AM
    Further violent protests are expected in Hamburg throughout the day on Friday as the G-20 summit of world leaders kicks into full gear. Meanwhile, those leaders, after a day of negotiations, plan to attend a concert this evening at the city's stunning new Elbphilharmonie concert hall. But that concert is already drawing criticism in advance of the cultural event.
    "It's an obscene abuse, actually a pornographic misuse of art," Joachim Lux, the head of Hamburg's highly regarded Thalia Theater told a network of regional newspapers in an interview. "Numerous heads of government and state will be sitting there who aggressively represent the political opposite of the 'European anthem' that will be played on the stage." He accused the leaders of trampling on human rights, waging wars, legitimizing the use of chemical weapons and loutish behavior à la Donald Trump's "America First."
    The Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra, under the baton of American conductor Kent Nagano, will play Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from the final movement of Symphony No. 9 is also the European Union's anthem. The line "all men shall be brothers" is considered to be an affirmation of freedom, equality and fraternity. The concert hall, which opened in January, has literally changed the skyline of Hamburg and the way people view the city, as highlighted in this recent DER SPIEGEL feature.
  • 7/7/17 6:44 AM
    SPIEGEL ONLINE reporter Max Holscher is currently accompanying a group of protesters marching under the slogan, "Shut down the Harbor" as they make their way towards the port from Hamburg's Veddel district. More than 100 protesters are taking part in the march. A number of G-20 protesters are trying to disrupt the port, which plays a pivotal role in Hamburg's economy.  
    But officials at the port don't seem overly concerned, according to reporter Angela Grube. A spokesperson for Hamburg port operator HHLA said, "Work is continuing at HHLA terminals on Friday. We assume some of the access roads will be limited as a result of the protests and security measures."
    The official said customers are being informed of any disruptions. The port also warned that if transportation is limited as a result of the protests, it could mean more traffic in the city next week if companies have to make up for lost time. The harbor is also providing extra meals to employees in the event they are unable to get home because of protests or G-20 security measures.
  • 7/7/17 6:20 AM
    This video, taken by SPIEGEL ONLINE reporter Stefan Schultz, shows protesters in Hamburg trying to block access to the G-20 summit.
  • 7/7/17 6:15 AM
    At 7 a.m. on Friday morning, SPIEGEL ONLINE journalist Ayla Mayer reported that around 350 to 400 anti-G-20 protesters had gathered in the Landungsbrücken area of the Hamburg port in an attempt to block access to the sites where the G-20 summit is taking place. Many of the protesters in the march are wearing purple jumpsuits and holding banners with slogans like "Queerfeminist Revolution" or "Make Solidarity Great Again."
    At first, the atmosphere remained peaceful until police tried to stop the march. Security officials intervened against the protesters using batons and tear gas. Protesters responded by setting off fireworks and roman candles. Police then tried to break the crowd up into smaller groups and began chasing them.   
  • 7/7/17 5:58 AM
    Protests against the G-20 are important for political debate and basic democratic rights but, unfortunately, some of the people participating in the protest marches in Hamburg are cloaking their need to exert aggression with a supposed political mission. On Thursday, they clashed against a highly equipped police force that has shown little hesitation in responding with very brute force when they believe they are witnessing violations of the law. In Hamburg's St. Pauli district and the surroundings on Thursday, rioting occurred on the periphery of the "Welcome to Hell" protest, with police firing water cannons and pepper spray to disburse the crowds. Police are reporting that at least 76 officers have been injured, and protest organizers say that numerous demonstrators have been hurt.
    • Photo: AP Photo: AP
  • 7/7/17 5:54 AM
    Good morning. The following is from SPIEGEL ONLINE's morning briefing, written by Berlin Bureau Chief Roland Nelles:
    The G-20 begins officially today, with normally lovely Hamburg transformed into a fortress. It's still uncertain whether the leaders of the world's 20 leading economies can produce tangible results in negotiations on trade, climate protection and programs to help Africa out of poverty. Coming at a cost of 80 million euros, one has to of course ask whether such a massive event ultimately makes sense, especially when it is self-evident that autocrats like Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan or Russian President Vladimir Putin also sit at the negotiating table. As Hamburg Mayor Olaf Schulz succinctly put it, "In international politics, you unfortunately don't just encounter politicians who share your own principles about democracy and rule of law." "That's why it is necessary to talk with each other. Without that kind of exchange, nothing will improve."
    • Photo: AFP Photo: AFP
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