Massive G-20 Protests Erupt in Germany

A photo of German riot police.

Photo credit: Jannis Tobias Werner / Shutterstock

Tomorrow marks the beginning of the 2017 Group of 20 (G-20) Summit, which is taking place in Hamburg, Germany.

G-20 is an international conference in which leaders from the world’s strongest 20 economies gather to discuss issues related to global financial stability. With less than 24 hours until the summit kicks off, protestors in Hamburg have already taken to the streets to voice their dissent.

The massive protest is called the “Welcome to Hell” march. Participants are protesting corporate greed and capitalism.

But what started out as a peaceful protest quickly turned violent. According to The Guardian, police asked a group of protestors to take off their masks. The protestors refused, and began hurling bottles and stones at police in response.

That’s when police used water cannons and pepper spray to separate the hostile group from the rest of the peaceful protestors. However, multiple protestors who weren’t part of the hostile group also reported being attacked with water and pepper spray.

But for as chaotic and as violent as it sounds, G-20 protests are nothing new. In 2009, about 4,000 people protested the G-20 Summit in London. Things got ugly when riot police raided a sit-down protest that took place in the city center. Afterward, several officers were reprimanded for using too strong of force.

A similar scenario took place at the 2010 G-20 Summit in Toronto. More than 1,000 people were detained, making it the biggest mass arrest in Canadian history. It was later discovered that police detained some protestors illegally and violated civil rights.

But for as big as the previous protests were, this one might be even bigger. Julia Kulik, a researcher at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says that this demonstration has the potential to be the largest G-20 protest in history for one for one key reason: Germany is easily accessible to protestors throughout Europe.

“Because of Germany’s history, it’ll be very hard to stop people from assembling,” Kulik told The Guardian.

Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

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