Riot police clash with G-20 protesters in Hamburg, Germany

Small groups of hooded anti-capitalist Black Bloc militants scuffled with German police on Saturday at an otherwise peaceful march against a G20 summit of global leaders in Hamburg, after two days of violent clashes which marred the G20 summit.

After a night of rioting in which radicals looted shops, torched cars and hurled objects, the city center was in lock down with luxury shops along the main streets barricaded up and many protected by security guards.

More than 50,000 people gathered for a ‘G20 – not welcome” demonstration in the port city. At one point a group of about 120 people, some masked, kicked police and attacked them with flagpoles before running away.

Police turned water cannon on protesters sporadically but by 1530 GMT many of the demonstrators had left.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, facing an election in September, had sought to underscore her commitment to free speech by holding the summit in central Hamburg, a trading hub with a long tradition of leftist radicalism.

Images of smoke rising over parts of the city, burning cars, wrecked shops and streets awash with debris have, however, raised questions about her strategy, and police reinforcements from across Germany had to be dispatched to help.

Merkel, who met police and security force after the summit to thank them, condemned the violence but also said the majority were peaceful and legitimate protesters.

“I condemn in the strongest terms the extreme violence and unbridled brutality that police were repeatedly confronted with,” she said at the end of a summit which exposed differences with the United States on climate change. (Reuters)

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