In Run-up to Summit, Police Raids Bring Early Violence

By Christel Kucharz

May 10, 2007 11:15am

Thousands of people took to the streets last night in Berlin and Hamburg to protest German police raids against anti-globalisation activists officials suspect of plotting to violently disrupt next month’s G8 summit in northern Germany. In Hamburg, police fired water cannons at angry crowds throwing stones and bottles at officers. Two police officers were wounded, and several demonstrators ended up spending the night in jail.   
By contrast, the Berlin protesters remained largely peaceful. The late-night protests were provoked by a series of raids of homes, offices, businesses and other locations carried out by hundreds of police officers in 40 cities. German authorities believe left-wing radicals have been planning violent attacks when Germany hosts the G8 summit next month. A group known as the Anti-Fascist Leftists in Berlin issued a statement denying the terror allegations. "The only reason for these searches is to criminalize and disrupt the planned protests against the G8," the statement read. A spokesperson for "attac," one of the anti-G8 groups, told German TV, "The police are just out to intimidate us; it’s just a show of force, no more, no less. They have no proof for their allegations." Click Here for Full Blotter Coverage. In Berlin, police  searched a book store in the Kreuzberg neighborhood as well as offices and apartments inhabited by suspected G8 spoilers. In Hamburg, police focused on a leftist cultural center. In other parts in northern Germany, police raided farms they suspected were being used as planning stations and storage facilities by anti-G8 protesters. Several computers were confiscated in the raids, according to officials.    As many as 100,000 anti-G8 protesters are expected to arrive in Heiligendamm from all over Europe to protest the summit of the world’s eight economic superpowers, according to organizers. The city, normally a sleepy seaside resort on the Baltic, has been transformed into a well-fortified stronghold in preparation. An eight-foot-tall fence, nicknamed the new "German Wall," ploughs through the landscape for miles, anchored by 4,800 concrete slabs and crowned by rows upon rows of barbed wire. Thick rolls of sharp razor-wire are wrapped around the barbed wire. Sixteen thousand police officers will take part in the largest German police operation in 50 years during the three-day event, transforming the fenced-in enclosure around the summit site into the equivalent of a maximum-security prison. Nine navy vessels complete with mine detection capability will patrol the waters just off the coast. Overall, 1,100 members of the German military will be deployed in the area, making the G8 summit one of the largest ever domestic military operations in post-war Germany.

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