After days of civil unrest which saw Hamburg descend into chaos against the backdrop of the city’s hosting of the G20 summit, criticism of the city’s government official Olaf Scholz has been mounting.
Questions have been raised over the ferocity of the anti-globalization protests as well as the apparent failure of local government to calm the unrest.
German Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said: “Looking at the pictures from the Schanzenviertel in Hamburg one cannot possibly understand how those prepared to throw paving stones from rooftops at other people could be referred to as political activists. Such an act is comparable to attempted murder.”
The location chosen for the G20 summit was just a stone’s throw from the left-wing neighbourhoods of Karolinenviertel and Sternschanze, a move that was seen as naive and provocative by Scholz’s critics.
“Herr Scholz, we need to talk” the banners read. Many feel the mayor grossly underestimated the public’s reaction to the conference – somewhat a kin to kicking the hornet’s nest.
Scholz said: “We prepared a huge police operation to guarantee the security of the summit participants and the people. But when it comes to the extent of destruction, we didn’t manage to do so as much as we intended to.”
The destruction in Hamburg is plain to see. Many feel that the safety of guests at the summit was prioritised over that of the residents of Hamburg.
Now the clean up begins and life will soon return to normal.
But for now the questions remain. Could more have been done? Is Scholz to blame And will there now be a knock on effect on the German federal election in September?