Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Street Action - Blocking the G8 - Germany

JUNE 6, 2007: Tens of thousands of people have marched through the north-east German port of Rostock, 25 kilometres from the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm, where invited leaders of the world's richest nations will begin their three-day G8 meeting. More blockades have been planned to disrupt the conference of global leaders.

Why block the G8 meeting? "Neoliberal capitalist globalisation – for which the G8 stands – increases the gap between the poor and the rich every day. The G8 claim they are combating global destitution, whereas they and those whose interests they represent are responsible for hunger, wars and environmental destruction.

That is why we will deny the G8 any legitimacy. We are not addressing the G8 with any demands, but say "No!". In order to express our clear "No!", we will not simply demonstrate. Instead we will actively thwart the G8 and block the access roads to the meeting place, which is used by numerous diplomats, translators and supply vehicles in order to get to Heiligendamm where the G8 summit will take place..."

On Monday, June 4th, anti-G8 actions and protest focussed on the demands for freedom of movement and equal rights for all.

Several decentralised actions took place: a demonstration with several thousand participants at the Immigration Centre in Rostock and another at the Sonnenblumen House in Lichtenhagen, where the Nazis attacked refugees in 1992. These were followed by a big march and rally in Rostock, which police restrictions and delays, but finally made it to the final rally at the city harbour. Decentralised actions also took place in other cities throughout the world.

On Sunday 3rd June, organisers said 80,000 people had taken part in a big demonstration, while Police put the figure at 30,000. Police sent in two anti-riot squads which led to clashes. "There is no justification for such violence against people and we formally distance ourselves from it," one protestor said.

The Rostock march was the biggest event of a week of demonstrations against the meeting of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the United States. Sunday's march began in a peaceful atmosphere. Protesters carried banners reading "Make Capitalism History". Others called for the world's most industrialised nations to fulfil their pledges to increase aid to Africa.

Protesters intend to block roads around Rostock airport from Wednesday to prevent the leaders and their delegations from reaching the summit venue. Organisers said they were expecting up to 100,000 people from anti-poverty and anti-corporate globalisation groups to demonstrate near where the leaders will gather. At a meeting of European and Asian foreign ministers in the northern city of Hamburg police used tear gas and batons to disperse a crowd of demonstrators.

All around the G8 venue tented camps have sprung up as affinity groups organise an alternative summit to highlight poverty and inequality. Dirk Mirow, a 37-year-old German taking part in the demonstration, said he was hoping the summit would achieve a major breakthrough on capping greenhouse gases. "I am here to protest for the climate because I have a two-year-old daughter and I'm wondering what sort of world we are creating for her," he said.

Tthe luxury beachfront hotel on the Baltic coast where the meeting will be held is surrounded by a heavily guarded fence topped with barbed wire. An underwater barrier has been erected to prevent ships approaching the hotel. German authorities have mounted an extensive security operation, with up to 16,000 police on duty.

Authorities can become brutal at G8 summits, most notoriously in the Italian city of Genoa in 2001 when a demonstrator was shot dead by police.

Check the Indymedia Timeline for immediate updates

Resistance Against the G8
Why do you want to blockade?
G8 Protests Timeline
ABC News
ABC News
Call for Action: June 5th, 2007
Germany: Pics from G8 protests - INFOSHOP

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