Who’s who in Hamburg’s G20 protests

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The G20 summit is attracting a panoply of protests – even before US President Donald Trump’s first appearance in Germany. DW breaks down the main demos on the streets and waters of Hamburg.

The streets and ports of Hamburg will be unusually crowded at the weekend, as dozens of protest groups emerge to demonstrate against the policies of the world’s richest countries. But what are the main demos happening, who is behind them and what do they actually want?

G20: Not welcome

Around 170 organizations will come together under the motto of the demo “Solidarity without borders instead of G20,” planned for Saturday, July 8, at 11 a.m.

Describing itself as a “rejection of this cold and cruel world of global capitalism,” the protest will include representatives from both of Germany’s main opposition parties, the socialist Left party and the Green party, the trade unions Verdi and IG Metall, a variety of regional peace organizations, as well as a number of other organizations somewhat further to the left, including the German Communist Party (DKP) and the International Socialist Organization (ISO).

The alliance’s online “call to action” suggests that the protesters have a wide range of things to demonstrate against: the sealing of Europe’s borders to the world’s 65 million refugees, the rise of “racism and open hatred,” the “indisputable and threatening reality of climate change,” and massive inequality in the world.

“On July 7 and 8, those politically responsible for this humanitarian and social disaster want to meet in Hamburg,” the call to action reads. “At their annual summit, the heads of the G20 countries talk about ‘fighting the causes for migration,’ but none of the big countries of origin sits at the table. They talk about ‘a partnership with Africa,’ but almost the whole continent is missing.”

G20: Welcome to hell – Storm the red zone

A more militant demonstration is set to kick off in central Hamburg at 4 p.m. Saturday – fittingly, the demo will be centered on the city’s anarchist, anti-fascist hot spot, the St. Pauli Fischmarkt. This “international anti-capitalist demonstration” promises to mobilize “to turn Hamburg into a location and an exclamation mark of resistance against old and new authorities of capitalism.”

The protest is likely to see some friction with the police, since the demonstrators are planning to set up an anti-capitalist camp from June 30 to July 9 with enough tents to house hundreds, which police may try to clear. At the moment, there is a legal dispute over whether the camp is covered by the constitutionally guaranteed right to free assembly or not, and therefore whether the local authorities have a right to clear it.

Organizers have also promised to resist any “preliminary checks” carried out by the police ahead of the demo, since they regard these as an “intimidation attempt and an authority demonstration.”

‘Shut down the logistics of capital’

On Friday, July 7, an attempt has been promised to “symbolically disrupt the smooth progress of capitalism” at Hamburg’s port district of Wilhelmsburg. Exactly what this means is not revealed in the video posted on the “shutdown-hamburg.org” website, but it will probably involve trying to block the port. The intervention is connected to a coordinated protest by the Autonomous Revolutionary Nordic Alliance (ARNA), which is supporting the Swedish Dockworkers’ Union (SDU) in a labor dispute in Gothenburg with their employers, APM Terminals.

G20 Wave of protest: Greenpeace, Campact, BUND, Oxfam

Some of Germany’s leading environmental organizations will also be staging a joint demonstration as part of the “wave of protest” on July 2 – mainly to call on the G20 to step up action against climate change.

The protest will involve both a march and a boat demonstration to create a “sea of banners.” In their common statement, the groups are also calling on the G20 to make world trade equitable.

The German branch of the global nongovernmental organization (NGO) Oxfam is also planning to be part of the wave. The group says its main demand will be for the G20 to adopt an “economic system for all.”

“Central to this is a tax policy that ensures that companies and rich individuals participate proportionately to the community,” Oxfam says on its website. Specifically, Oxfam wants the G20 to support developing countries by fulfilling their pledge to set aside 0.7 percent of gross domestic product for development aid.

Police and protesters clash in Hamburg ahead of G20

Global Solidarity Summit

Some 77 different international NGOs, left-wing political parties, think tanks and trade unions have organized a two-day “alternative summit” in Hamburg on July 5 and 6, a day ahead of the G20, which organizers say “defends a system that boosts social inequality.” Over the course of 12 panel discussions, scientists, activists and politicians are to debate different ways to overcome “poverty, exploitation, oppression and the destruction of nature.”

One of the main protest groups involved in the Global Solidarity Summit is Attac, an international protest group founded in France that claims it has 90,000 members in 50 countries. The group’s French acronym, which translates as Association for the Taxation of financial Transactions and Citizen’s Action, hints at its single-issue origins, but now Attac pursues a number of topics surrounding growing inequality and poverty around the world, including the overexploitation of the Earth’s resources.

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