Molotov cocktails & iron bars: G20 protests rage on in Hamburg, 200+ police injured
“We have never experienced this level of hate and violence,” Hamburg police spokesman Timo Zill told the Bild tabloid.
Demonstrators were armed with Molotov cocktails and iron bars, police said in a press statement.
“At the interception Schanzenviertel district [in central Hamburg], the forces were permanently subjected to violent attacks,” the statement added.
The protesters damaged shops and vehicles, police said, adding that some 500 people looted a supermarket on Friday night during ongoing protests.
About 250 protesters erected barricades in the Schlump / Schäferkampsallee area in the center of the city, using trash cans, bicycles and road signs. Several vehicles were set on fire.
One of protesters, however, told DW that police are fueling the anger at the rallies.
“The police are provoking people by running into the protests, crowding people together so that they start to panic. They know people will get injured,” he said.
At least 213 police officers have been injured in the protests, police said on Saturday morning.
“I am shaken over the violence that many had to endure, with their vehicles or property destroyed, or witnessing this brutality against police officers,” Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz said.
German Justice Minister Heiko Maas slammed the protests on Twitter.
“Criminals belong before courts, not on the street,” he tweeted.
The anti-globalist demonstrations in Hamburg were organized under the slogan “Welcome to Hell.” The protests turned violent on Thursday night, erupting in confrontations with police. Clashes began in the evening, with police using pepper-spray and water cannons against the rioters.
Speaking to the German broadcaster NDR, a spokesman for the "Welcome to Hell" demo, Andreas Blechschmidt, distanced himself from "senseless violence" and heavy rioting.
On Friday evening, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that such violent clashes are unacceptable.
"I have every understanding for peaceful demonstrations, but violent demonstrations endanger human lives, they endanger people themselves, they put police officers and security forces in danger, put residents in danger, and so that is unacceptable,” she said.