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.


Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh goes on despite US mediation

Updated 24 October 2020

Fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh goes on despite US mediation

  • Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994
  • After failed attempts by Russia to broker a truce, Pompeo hosted the Armenian and Azerbaijan foreign ministers for separate talks

STEPANAKERT, Nagorno-Karabakh: Rocket and artillery barrage hit residential areas in Nagorno-Karabakh on Saturday hours after the United States hosted top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks on settling their decades-long conflict over the region.
The heavy shelling forced residents of Stepanakert, the regional capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, into shelters, as emergency teams rushed to extinguish fires. Local officials said the city was struck with Azerbaijan’s Smerch long-range multiple rocket systems, a devastating Soviet-designed weapon intended to ravage wide areas with explosives and cluster munitions.
Nagorno-Karabakh authorities said other towns in the region were also targeted by Azerbaijani artillery fire. There was no immediate information about casualties.
Officials in Azerbaijan claimed that the town of Terter and areas in the Gubadli region came under Armenian shelling early Saturday, killing a teenager. They also said 13-year-old boy died Saturday of wounds from an earlier shelling of Ganja, Azerbaijan’s second-largest city.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994. The current fighting that started Sept. 27 marks the worst escalation in the conflict since the war’s end and has killed hundreds, perhaps even thousands, according to official reports.
After two failed attempts by Russia to broker a truce, the US waded onto the scene on Friday, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hosting the Armenian and Azerbaijan foreign ministers for separate talks.
“Both must implement a cease-fire and return to substantive negotiations,” Pompeo said in a tweet after the negotiations.
Those words were ignored on the ground.
“Just now a bomb exploded in my garden,” Georgiy, a resident of Stepanakert who only gave his first name amid the war jitters, said after the overnight attack. “If this is the so-called cease-fire, let the whole world see this cease-fire.”
Georgiy, who was born in Stepanakert, said he would stay home despite the fighting.
“This is my motherland, I’m not going to leave it,” he said. “All the people will stand until the last.”
According to Nagorno-Karabakh officials, 963 of their troops have been killed, and 37 civilians also have died. Azerbaijan hasn’t disclosed its military losses, but said that over 60 civilians were killed and about 300 were wounded in the four weeks of fighting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that according to Moscow’s information, the death toll from the fighting was significantly higher than officially reported by the warring parties, nearing 5,000.
Russia, the United States and France have co-chaired the so-called Minsk Group set up by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to mediate in the conflict, but they haven’t scored any progress after nearly three decades.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that to end hostilities Armenian forces must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh. He has insisted that Azerbaijan has the right to reclaim its territory by force since international mediators have failed.
Turkey has thrown its weight behind Azerbaijan, vowing to support its ally “on the battlefield or the negotiating table.” It has trained Azerbaijani military and provided it with strike drones and long-range rocket systems that gave Azerbaijan a strong military edge on the battlefield.
Armenian officials say Turkey is directly involved in the conflict and is sending Syrian mercenaries in to fight on Azerbaijan’s side.
Turkey has denied deploying combatants to the region, but a Syrian war monitor and Syria-based opposition activists have confirmed that Turkey has sent hundreds of Syrian opposition fighters to fight in Nagorno-Karabakh.