As G-20 leaders gathered at the Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg, Germany for a live performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on Friday evening, police moved to disperse thousands of protesters during a second day of violent clashes.
Masked demonstrators smashed shop windows and torched parked vehicles on Friday, and other groups attempted to block G-20 delegates’ routes to the summit. An estimated 100,000 demonstrators acted peacefully, Reuters reported.
The extent of the damage remains unclear at this time.
The rallies have resulted in the injury of nearly 200 officers ― some of whom were reportedly attacked with metal bars ― and led to more than 80 arrests so far, according to Hamburg authorities, who requested reinforcement to support the tens of thousands of police workers already on duty. Dressed in riot gear, they deployed water cannons, smoke grenades, tear gas and armored vehicles to quash the protests.
Under the motto “Welcome To Hell,” far-left demonstrators protested against global capitalism and the leadership of U.S. President Donald Trump, who is attending the summit, as well as the lack of global initiative on climate change.
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Members of the anti-capitalist movement, Black Bloc, were visible in Thursday’s clashes, HuffPost Germany political correspondent Jurgen Klockner reported.
“I have every understanding for peaceful demonstrations,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said, condemning the violence. “But violent demonstrations put human lives in danger.”
U.S. first lady Melania Trump was also denied police clearance to partake in a tour of Hamburg as tensions escalated on Friday.
“Half the city is burning,” HuffPost Germany journalist Maximilian Marquardt said during a Facebook Live report from the scene in Schanzenviertel, a district nearby. “I think the worst is still to come,” he added, standing in front of flames in the street. Police have since urged people to leave the area.
“The situation here is getting very, very tense. People are building street barriers in order to stop the police,” Marquardt said, before he was hit by tear gas.
Earlier in the day, a 70-year-old woman told HuffPost Germany she had hoped Friday would be calmer, following Thursday’s clashes.
“I never experienced something like this,” she said.
“It is very difficult for the police, because we stand between politicians and protesters,” a policeman told HuffPost. “We cannot please both of them.”
Take a look at some of the photos from Friday below.
HuffPost Germany’s Leonhard Landes contributed reporting.