German states send more police to Hamburg as G-20 violence escalates

German police remove protestors who are blocking a street at a demonstration during the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski
Updated 07 July 2017

German states send more police to Hamburg as G-20 violence escalates

HAMBURG: Protesters injured 160 police officers in clashes and torched cars, barricades and rubbish bins on Friday as leaders from the world’s top economies gathered for a summit in Hamburg.
Police forces around Germany dispatched reinforcements to help 15,000 police already deployed to the northern port city for the Group of 20 (G-20) summit as the violence escalated. At least 15 people were arrested and dozens more held for questioning.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble canceled an appearance in downtown Hamburg on Friday morning due to security concerns, and police declined to clear US First Lady Melania Trump’s motorcade to leave her hotel to join in a tour of the city’s historic harbor, her spokeswoman said.
“She has already missed a good portion of it. It’s too bad, she was really looking forward to it,” Stephanie Grisham said.
Andy Grote, Hamburg’s interior minister, said 160 police officers had been injured in what he called “frightening” violence. Three officers required treatment in hospital, police said, noting that protesters had also used slingshots as well as thrown bottles and stones.
Ralf Martin Meyer, City police chief, told reporters that tight security around the conference area had caused protesters to fan out around Hamburg, forcing police to request 900-1,000 further officers as reinforcements from throughout Germany.
“We are focusing on securing corridors to make sure that the path for (leaders’) convoys is clear,” said Meyer.
“We have to expect everything, and we are expecting everything,” Grote said.
Police said violence that erupted during marches on Thursday continued into Friday, with far left protesters slashing the tires of a car belonging to Canada’s G-20 delegation and smashing windows of the consulate of Mongolia.
A police spokesman said only small numbers of far left or anarchist protesters were involved in disturbances, with the majority of an estimated 100,000 demonstrators in the city remaining peaceful. Some 12,000 took part in the main march.
On Friday, smaller groups of protesters attacked both manned and empty police cars, one of which was hit by a petrol bomb, police said.
One of the many police helicopters patrolling the skies was nearly struck by a rocket flare, police said in a statement. On Thursday the pilots of another helicopter sustained eye injuries after a laser was directed against them.
Police said they continued to dispel street blockades throughout Hamburg.


Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

Updated 12 August 2020

Civilians, soldiers clash leaving 127 dead in South Sudan

  • The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers
  • An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but local youths subsequently mobilized for an attack on the army position

JUBA: Clashes between soldiers and civilians during a disarmament exercise in the central South Sudanese town of Tonj have left 127 dead, the army spokesman said Wednesday.
Major General Lul Ruai Koang told AFP that the fighting erupted on Saturday as security forces carried out an operation to disarm civilians in the area which has seen deadly inter-communal clashes.
More than six years after a civil war broke out in the country, and in the absence of a functioning government, many communities are flush with weapons, which they keep for protection or defense against cattle raids.
The violence in Tonj began after several armed youths got into a disagreement with soldiers. An initial armed confrontation was brought under control, but according to Koang the youths mobilized others for an attack on the army position.
“On the latest, the number of those killed, I can confirm to you that it rose to 127,” Koang said, adding that 45 of those killed were security forces and 82 were youths from the area.
A further 32 soldiers were injured.
Koang said two military officers involved in “triggering the clashes” had been arrested, and that the situation in Tonj had calmed down.
South Sudan is emerging from a six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced, and disarmament is a major stumbling block.
Experts have warned against operations that coerce people to lay down their guns without proper planning, as some communities could find themselves unable to protect themselves after their weapons are removed.
“The clashes should be an opportunity to rethink the approach to disarmament. What is the point of removing guns without addressing what drives folks to arms themselves?” Geoffrey Duke, head of the South Sudan Action Network on Small Arms, said on Twitter.
“We can take guns away this week & they buy a new one next week (as) long as they still see the need to have (one).”