Fresh clashes on G8 eve


Summary

Skirmishes broke out in the northern city of Rostock between police and about 400 extremists, some of whom pelted officers with bottles during a demonstration against refugee policy in the Group of Eight club of rich nations, authorities said.

Several hundred police were deployed with water cannons and some 49 people were detained for violating a police ban on wearing masks at protests.

Later in the day, nearly 10,000 demonstrators marched peacefully through the centre of Rostock in protest against G8 immigrant policies, and demonstrators briefly blocked access to the immigration office there.

It was the second outbreak of violence in the run-up to the G8 summit starting on Wednesday in the nearby Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, following riots on Saturday in Rostock that left nearly 1,000 people injured.

Protests turn bloody

The weekend protests turned bloody when a core group of extremists, clad in black clothing and balaclavas, fought pitched battles with police.

Police said 433 officers were injured on Saturday – 30 of them seriously – leading to calls for a new security strategy during the summit.

"Nothing can justify the violence," Chancellor Angela Merkel told public television.

"We will have no tolerance for violent demonstrators."

But the head of the GdP police union, Konrad Freiberg, said he feared the clashes could escalate during the week.

"I am expecting the worst,” he told the mass-selling daily newspaper Bild.

A leader of the anti-globalisation movement Attac, Sven Giegold, said he hoped the demonstrations in the coming days would be non-violent but said he was pessimistic.

"I do not think it will stay peaceful in the coming days," he told NTV, admitting the group had no control over the "hooligans" in Rostock.

Security beefed up

Authorities have mounted an extensive security operation for the summit, with up to 16,000 police on duty.

Organisers have wrapped the summit venue in a ring of steel and barbed wire while air and sea access have been closed.

An interior ministry spokesman said that up to 20 percent of the 128 people detained Saturday were from abroad. Austrian, Bulgarian, French, Japanese, Russian and Swedish demonstrators were reportedly among the violent protesters.

Protesters have set up camp at sites throughout the Baltic Coast region of northern Germany.

Police said they believed about 2,500 of those responsible for the weekend riots were still in the area.

The three-day G8 meeting is to focus on climate change, aid for Africa and the state of the global economy.

Protests set to eclipse meeting

But, as in previous years, the demonstrations threatened to overshadow the summit.

In 2001, police and rioters in the northern Italian city of Genoa battled for days on the fringes of major anti-globalisation demonstrations.

One protester was shot dead by the police.

Activists in Germany said they were appalled by the violence over the weekend and feared it would drown out their message.

They held a smaller, peaceful protest on Sunday against agriculture policies in the G8.

Some demonstrators, who have focused their protests on G8 policies on global capital and the environment, accused police of stoking the bloodshed with provocative tactics.

Police put the total at Saturday’s turnout at 30,000, while demonstrators estimated there had been 80,000 participants.


Skirmishes broke out in the northern city of Rostock between police and about 400 extremists, some of whom pelted officers with bottles during a demonstration against refugee policy in the Group of Eight club of rich nations, authorities said.

Several hundred police were deployed with water cannons and some 49 people were detained for violating a police ban on wearing masks at protests.

Later in the day, nearly 10,000 demonstrators marched peacefully through the centre of Rostock in protest against G8 immigrant policies, and demonstrators briefly blocked access to the immigration office there.

It was the second outbreak of violence in the run-up to the G8 summit starting on Wednesday in the nearby Baltic Sea resort of Heiligendamm, following riots on Saturday in Rostock that left nearly 1,000 people injured.

Protests turn bloody

The weekend protests turned bloody when a core group of extremists, clad in black clothing and balaclavas, fought pitched battles with police.

Police said 433 officers were injured on Saturday – 30 of them seriously – leading to calls for a new security strategy during the summit.

"Nothing can justify the violence," Chancellor Angela Merkel told public television.

"We will have no tolerance for violent demonstrators."

But the head of the GdP police union, Konrad Freiberg, said he feared the clashes could escalate during the week.

"I am expecting the worst,” he told the mass-selling daily newspaper Bild.

A leader of the anti-globalisation movement Attac, Sven Giegold, said he hoped the demonstrations in the coming days would be non-violent but said he was pessimistic.

"I do not think it will stay peaceful in the coming days," he told NTV, admitting the group had no control over the "hooligans" in Rostock.

Security beefed up

Authorities have mounted an extensive security operation for the summit, with up to 16,000 police on duty.

Organisers have wrapped the summit venue in a ring of steel and barbed wire while air and sea access have been closed.

An interior ministry spokesman said that up to 20 percent of the 128 people detained Saturday were from abroad. Austrian, Bulgarian, French, Japanese, Russian and Swedish demonstrators were reportedly among the violent protesters.

Protesters have set up camp at sites throughout the Baltic Coast region of northern Germany.

Police said they believed about 2,500 of those responsible for the weekend riots were still in the area.

The three-day G8 meeting is to focus on climate change, aid for Africa and the state of the global economy.

Protests set to eclipse meeting

But, as in previous years, the demonstrations threatened to overshadow the summit.

In 2001, police and rioters in the northern Italian city of Genoa battled for days on the fringes of major anti-globalisation demonstrations.

One protester was shot dead by the police.

Activists in Germany said they were appalled by the violence over the weekend and feared it would drown out their message.

They held a smaller, peaceful protest on Sunday against agriculture policies in the G8.

Some demonstrators, who have focused their protests on G8 policies on global capital and the environment, accused police of stoking the bloodshed with provocative tactics.

Police put the total at Saturday’s turnout at 30,000, while demonstrators estimated there had been 80,000 participants.