Thousands of anti-globalisation demonstrators have been converging on the German city of Rostock, ready to protest against the G8 summit of world leaders next week. Police are expecting up to 100,000 protestors to pack the city, about 20 kilometres from the site of the summit on the Baltic coast in the north of Germany.
Thousands have already set up camp in four locations. 40 separate gatherings are planned in the city, and although shop-owners have been busy boarding up windows, police expect the protests to pass peacefully. This woman said: “I’m expecting as many people as possible will come together to show their dissatisfaction with today’s world economic system.” Another protestor said: “Maybe with enough motivation we will be able to at least shake up the G8.”
Mindful of the violent scenes which have accompanied previous summits, German police have mounted extensive, and sometimes controversial, security preparations – among them, a two kilometre exclusion zone surrounding this specially built fence, which encircles the centre at Heiligendamm.
The ban around the fence has been the subject of numerous court decisions. Even Rostock harbour has become home to vessels bearing Greenpeace banners. 16,000 police are on duty, in Germany’s biggest security operation since the end of World War Two.
In the regional capital, Schwerin, extreme left wing protestors squared up with the extreme-right, even though both demonstrations had been banned by a court.