Riots during the G20 conference in Hamburg, Germany, grew so fierce at times that government observers characterized the protests as akin to a terror attack.
As it was, 476 police officers were injured during their attempts to control the rioters.
The street protests lasted for days. And they were marked by massive mayhem that ranged from fires in the streets, clashes between protesters and cops and injuries and screaming, to traffic blockades and banner waving — the far-left’s typical means of expressing opposition.
But a terror attack? That’s pretty out-of-control.
Yet, that’s how at least one government official described the scenario.
“Such small-minded skirmishes are the business of people who took a whole city hostage for their dimwittedness in an almost terrorist manner,” said former European Parliament president Martin Schultz, in a Der Spiegel report.
So what were the protests about?
Some wanted the Social Democrat, or SPD, mayor of Hamburg — Olaf Scholz — to resign.
The riots in Hamburg, which lasted for several days, saw the city lit on fire and 476 police officers from all over Germany injured by far-left extremists. The riot led to large-scale condemnation from many political leaders and calls for the Social Democrat (SPD) Mayor of Hamburg Olaf Scholz to resign, Der Spiegel reports.
The leader of the SPD and former European Parliament President Martin Schulz said the rioters’ actions displayed “the characteristics of terrorism”.
“Such small-minded skirmishes are the business of people who took a whole city hostage for their dimwittedness in an almost terrorist manner,” Schulz added.
Justice Minister Heiko Maas, also of the SPD, said that future political summits should not be held in German cities. This was countered by Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) who said: “We will not allow a group of radical violators to determine whether, when, and where heads of state and government come together.”
Mr. Maas also demanded better information sharing in Europe regarding far-left extremists. “The brutal riot tourists stop at no borders. A high proportion of the violent extremists travelled to the G-20 from other European countries,” he said adding: “We experienced a new quality of violence, which we should react to with more cooperation in combating extremists.”
Shortly before the riots, police had warned they expected left-extremists to come to Hamburg from all across Europe.
President of the Federal Police, Dieter Romann, said the violence during the riots was on a scale not predicted by authorities. Police say 186 people were arrested and remain in custody whilst another 225 were initially arrested but then released shortly after.
Hamburg Senator Andy Grote of the SPD said the main problem was the presence of the protest camp in the district of Altona which he claimed had led to the violence. Days before the riot, police had attempted to clear the unauthorised protest camp using a water cannon and pepper spray on protestors leaving five of them injured.
Supposedly, city residents harmed by the protests, and city business owners who suffered losses due to the protesters, are being offered compensation.
Police are currently distributing information on how citizens and business owners can file their claims with the government.