German authorities are doing their utmost to stop violent demonstrations disrupting next week’s G8 summit in Heiligendamm, but many are wondering if they have not become a little over-zealous. At a cost of 12.5 million euros, a 12km long barb-wired fence has been constructed to keep protestors out of a 4km wide security cordon around the historic seaside town. A ban on shipping in the region has been imposed and local fishermen are furious at not being exempted.
As from now, residents have to go through airport style security checks to enter the zone – and then wait for special buses to take them home. German police say the terrorist threat justifies the measures: “There’s a high threat of a terror attack, a threat from individuals trying to get close to the centre, possibly under the protection of demonstrators,” said police chief Knut Abramowski.
But anti-globalisation activists claim they are the real targets. They launched a dirty socks protest against German police collecting smell samples from group members – allegedly so that sniffer dogs can identify ringleaders in any demonstration. “I can see why people say this reminds them of the Stasi,” said one woman.
The German police admit taking the smell samples – but claim that they did so as a legitimate investigative technique in the context of an arson inquiry.