The political protests at the G20 Summit meetings continue to escalate. Hundreds of protestors descended on Hamburg, Germany Friday and have made their presence known. Headlines this morning said that many of the politicians’ spouses, including Melania Trump, were trapped in their hotel, blockaded by the protestors.
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The protests escalated into riots. Fire bombs were thrown, cars were set ablaze, and the police had to call in reinforcements when they were completely overwhelmed.
First Lady Melania Trump one of many trapped inside her hotel. The president, already in route to the summit, was forced to take detours to avoid the protestors. Theresa May’s husband Philip and French president Emmanuel Macron’s wife Brigette were also told to shelter in place.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke out against the uprising, and said demonstrations had “put peoples’ lives in danger, put the protesters’ own lives in danger… [and were] unacceptable.”
Police responded to protestors with water cannons, tear gas, and pepper spray. While some of the protestors were demonstrating peacefully, others resisted arrest and actively fought back against the police.
Police estimated 100,000 protesters showed up for the protest on Friday. Some of those helped the police by attempting to extinguish fires set by other protestors.
More than 110 officers were injured responding to protests and riots on Thursday. That figure is expected to rise substantially today. There were on 29 arrests.
Still, protest organizers have been critical of the police response. Andreas Blechschmidt, who had a role in the planning, told a local news crew that the police response was uncalled for. “The police should have reacted proportionally… It wasn’t necessary. There are a lot of people injured,” Blechschmidt said about police striking protestors with batons.
The President, who is meeting today with foreign leaders (including Vladamir Putin), spoke yesterday in Poland.
“As the Polish experience reminds us, the defense of the West ultimately rests not only on means but also on the will of its people to prevail,” Trump declared.
“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”
As the smoke rose over the city, the question on many minds was if Hamburg would survive.