'Pre-emptive' raids target G8 protesters in Germany

May 11, 2007

Nine hundred police were used in simultaneous raids across Berlin, Hamburg, Bremen and other cities on May 9 as part of a pre-emptive strike against anti-G8 protests planned for June 6-8. Some 100,000 protesters are expected to demonstrate against the summit, which will be held in the northern seaside resort of Heiligendamm. The G8 draws together eight of the world's largest industrialised powers — the US, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and Canada.

Seemingly equating protest with terrorism, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office in the city of Karlsruhe was quoted as saying: "The suspects linked to the militant, left-wing extremist scene are accused of founding or belonging to a terrorist organisation whose aim is to disrupt or prevent the upcoming G8 world economic summit."

Anti-globalisation group Attac said the police raids were trying to "criminalise the entire spectrum of G8 opponents".

Other "security measures" for the summit have included the erection of a 12-kilometre security fence, known to locals as the "new Berlin Wall". Germany is also relying on international security "intelligence" to monitor and refuse entry to some protesters from other countries. This has included the temporary suspension of its open borders arrangement with other European nations.

Deutsche Welle reported on May 10 that in response to the repression, more than 6000 demonstrators took to the streets across Germany. In Hamburg, "police resorted to water canons and truncheons in clashes with some 2,000 activists demonstrating in the district of St. Pauli", the news service reported. On May 11, interior minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that G8 protesters could be subject to two weeks' preventative detention to maintain the security of the summit's venue

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