Posts Tagged ‘riot police’

Five Things to Know About the Iranian Protests — Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “must step down” — “We are all Iranians, we don’t accept Arabs.”

December 31, 2017

Protesters bypass demands for reform, call for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down

Protesters in Iran are challenging the nearly four-decade clerical rule of the Islamic Republic. The protests—the largest and most widespread since an uprising against the outcome of the 2009 presidential elections—are calling for a regime change, a move which could have repercussions across the region as the country yields considerable influence over other Middle East nations such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen.

Here is what you need to know about the protests:

1. How did the protests start?

Small, scattered protests focused on economic grievances had been percolating in multiple Iranian cities since September. Crowds there gathered to demonstrate against alleged financial corruption, budget allocations for religious institutions and the bankruptcy of retirement funds.

On Thursday in the northeast city of Mashhad, people took to the street to express their anger over inflation and what they said was President Hassan Rouhani’s failure to deliver on his promises of economic prosperity. Iranians had hoped Mr. Rouhani’s administration and a nuclear deal with other world powers would end Iran’s isolation and lead to foreign investments, jobs and better purchasing power.

News of the protest spread on social-media apps such as Telegram and WhatsApp, which are popular in Iran. Within hours, spontaneous protests broke out in other cities, such as Kermanshah, Isfahan and Tehran.

The demonstrations, which originally targeted the economy alone, eventually shifted to demands against political oppression by Iran as the middle class, student activists and dissidents joined the working class and labor unions on the streets.

By Friday and Saturday, the protests had spread all across the country, including cities such as Qom, the bedrock of Shiite clerical rule, and other regime strongholds known for their conservative and religious populations.

2. What do the protesters want?

Bypassing the traditional demands for reform, the protesters are calling for the ouster of the regime and for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down.

During some demonstrations, crowds chanted “Seyed Ali shame on you, let go of power” and “Sorry Seyed Ali, it’s time to go.” In Tehran, protesters faced a mural of Mr. Khamenei and shouted “Death to you.” Openly targeting Mr. Khamenei, who is considered God’s representative on Earth, is a crime that carries the death penalty.

In a number of cities, demonstrators have expressed nostalgia for the last monarchical rulers of Iran, the Pahlavi dynasty, by evoking the name of its founder Reza Shah. Many Iranians consider Reza Shah to be the father of modern Iran and his era is associated with a time of economic prosperity.

3. What are protesters chanting?

Iranians have a knack for political slogans that rhyme in Persian as if they were verses of poetry.

Here are some slogans being chanted at the protests, translated into English:

“We don’t want an Islamic Republic, we don’t want it, we don’t want it.”

“They are using Islam as an excuse to drive people crazy.”

“Independence, Freedom, Iranian Republic.”

“Reformists, hard-liners, Game is over.”

“We are all Iranians, we don’t accept Arabs.”

“We are getting poor and clerics are driving fancy cars.”

“Reza Shah, Rest in Peace.”

“We will die but we will take Iran back.”

“Come out to the streets Iranians, shout for your rights.”

“Death to the Revolutionary Guards.”

4. How has the regime responded?

Riot police and plainclothes militia have taken to the streets across Iran but the crackdowns have been far tamer than previous protests.

Some Iranian officials have also taken a different tack, acknowledging that the public has legitimate economic grievances that the government needs to address. At the same time, they blamed outside forces—such as foreign media and exiled opposition leaders—for hijacking the protests and instigating political unrest.

The protests haven’t been without incident, however. By Saturday night local time, Iranians were posting videos of scattered clashes with security forces using batons and tear gas in multiple cities to scatter crowds. Video footage also was being distributed of two protesters who were reportedly shot and killed in the Western province of Lorestan.

Internet service was being slowed down in Tehran and had been cut in Mashhad, where the protests began, and incoming international calls were blocked.

5. Where will the protests go and how has the U.S. administration reacted?

Uprisings in Iran tend to die out because of a lack of leadership, clear organization and goals. If the protests persist, the regime may crack down harder on them, with mass arrests and military lockdowns.

In a post on his Twitter account, U.S. President Donald Trump wrote of his support for the Iranian protesters, saying that the world was watching. Other American officials and political figures, such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R., Wis.) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.), also have expressed solidarity with the people of Iran.

Foreign support can often be detrimental for protesters within Iran, as it routinely is used by the regime to undermine homegrown opposition demands.

Write to Farnaz Fassihi at


Two Killed as Kenyan Police Disperse Supporters Cheering Opposition Leader

November 17, 2017


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Kenya’s Anti-riot police fire tear gas to disperse supporters of Kenyan opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition in Nairobi, Kenya November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Baz Ratner Reuters

By Thomas Mukoya and Baz Ratner

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Two people were killed on Friday as Kenyan police tried to disperse supporters cheering a convoy carrying opposition leader Raila Odinga from the airport to central Nairobi, a Reuters photographer said.

Police fired tear gas at the convoy and used water cannon as they tried to stop it reaching the capital’s main business district, live footage on Kenyan TV showed. Some protesters threw stones at police. TV footage showed two vehicles on fire.

The deaths occurred as police and protesters fought on one of the main roads leading to the business district, the photographer said. Police spokesmen did not immediately respond to phone calls.

Odinga has called for a “National Resistance Movement” to protest against the outcome of a repeat presidential election last month which saw President Uhuru Kenyatta win a second, five-year term with 98 percent of the vote after Odinga boycotted the contest. Only 39 percent of registered voters took part.

The repeat poll was ordered by the Supreme Court after it annulled the results of the August election, won by Kenyatta, over procedural irregularities.

In what is seen as the last chance for legal scrutiny of the vote, the court will rule on Monday on cases that seek to nullify the rerun election.

The political crisis has stirred fears for the stability of the east African nation, a regional hub for trade, diplomacy and security.

Earlier on Friday, demonstrators threw up burning barricades on Mombasa Road, the highway that links Nairobi’s downtown business district and the airport.

Odinga returned to Kenya on Friday from a trip to the United States.

Despite a partial police ban on protests in the capital, hundreds of people had gathered in the morning near Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to await Odinga’s return. Police fired into the air to disperse them, a Reuters photographer said.

Once Odinga landed, motorcycle taxi drivers and people on foot shouted their support as the motorcade, which included lawmakers from Odinga’s opposition coalition, began moving toward central Nairobi.

In Monday’s Supreme Court rulings, judges could order a fresh vote or clear the way for the incumbent to be sworn in for his second term. If the election is upheld, Kenyatta will be sworn in on Nov. 28.

Dozens of international flights depart and arrive daily at Nairobi’s main airport. The national airport authority said on Twitter just before midday that operations were running normally.

Kenya’s prolonged election season has disrupted its economy. Human rights groups say at least 66 people have died in bloodshed surrounding the two elections.

Ahead of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling, Kenya Airways’ chairman told an investor briefing on Friday: “Hopefully we don’t have another presidential election so we can get on with life.”

(Reporting by Thomas Mukoya and Baz Ratner; Additional reporting by Duncan Miriri; Writing by Maggie Fick; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

Kenya poll official quits due to political bias — Says upcoming presidential election could not be credible

October 18, 2017


© AFP/File / by Fran BLANDY | Akombe had become a familiar face on television programmes explaining the election process to Kenyans.

NAIROBI (AFP) – One of Kenya’s top election officials quit Wednesday in a searing statement accusing her colleagues of political bias and saying an upcoming presidential election could not be credible.The resignation of one of seven poll commissioners is the latest dramatic twist to an election process that has plunged the East African nation into its worst political crisis in a decade.

“The commission in its current state can surely not guarantee a credible election on 26 October 2017. I do not want to be party to such a mockery to electoral integrity,” Roselyn Akombe wrote in the statement from New York.

The country’s Supreme Court on September 1 ordered the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) to carry out a re-run of the presidential election, after annulling the vote due to “irregularities” and mismanagement by officials.

Divisions in the commission burst into the open days later when a letter was leaked from the panel’s chairman to its CEO questioning a host of failings in the conduct of the August 8 poll.

Akombe said that she had questioned her role at the commission for many months, but had “soldiered on”.

“Sometimes, you walk away, especially when potentially lives are at stake. The commission has become a party to the current crisis. The commission is under siege,” she wrote.

© AFP/File / by Fran BLANDY | Opposition protesters blocked roads on October 11

– Election at any cost –

In an interview with the BBC she said she feared for her life and would not return to her home country in the foreseeable future.

In her statement Akombe said field staff had in recent days expressed concerns about their safety, especially in areas hit by opposition protests against the IEBC.

She accused her colleagues of seeking “to have an election even if it is at the cost of the lives of our staff and voters.”

She said the election could not be credible when staff were getting last minute instructions on changes to technology and the electronic transmission of results, and when training was being rushed for fear of attacks from protesters.

She said the election panel and its staff were also being “intimidated by political actors.”

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Protesters run away from tear gas launched by Kenyan riot police during a demonstration earlier this month

“It is not too late to save our country from this crisis. We need just a few men and women of integrity to stand up and say that we cannot proceed with the election… as currently planned,” she wrote.

Akombe, who took a break from a job at the United Nations to serve as an election commissioner, had become a familiar face on television programmes explaining the election process to Kenyans.

Her resignation is likely to further stoke anxiety that has been mounting in the run up to the election.

– Mistakes ‘likely to be repeated’ –

After the August 8 vote, veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga quickly cried foul over the counting process, accusing election officials of rigging the vote in favour of President Uhuru Kenyatta.

His victory in getting the Supreme Court to overturn the result was a shock to many, and hailed as a sign of the country’s maturing democracy and institutions.

However the decision has been followed by acrimony, legal battles and confusion over how to carry out a new election that is credible, in the constitutionally mandated 60-day period.

Odinga last week announced he was withdrawing from the race, arguing the move would legally force the IEBC to begin the whole process from scratch, which would allow more time for deep reforms.

Despite the confusion over what Odinga’s withdrawal means, election officials appear to be pushing forward with plans to hold the vote as scheduled on October 26.

“There is a very high likelihood that the mistakes that some of the presiding officers made during the last election will be repeated,” Akombe told the BBC.

Odinga on Tuesday suspended a protest campaign to push for reforms after three people were shot dead in demonstrations. He has said he will announce his next course of action Friday.

Some 40 people have now died since the election, mostly at the hands of police according to rights groups.

Akombe warned that the lessons from a disputed 2007 election, which sparked politically motivated tribal violence that left 1,100 dead, were “too fresh, lest we forget.”

by Fran BLANDY

Kenya opposition supporters defy protest ban

October 13, 2017


© AFP/File / by Fran BLANDY | Opposition protesters blocked roads on October 11
NAIROBI (AFP) – Hundreds of opposition supporters took to the streets of Kenya’s main cities Friday in defiance of a government ban on protests as the country is gripped by uncertainty over its presidential election.

In western Kisumu, a stronghold of opposition leader Raila Odinga that has been a hotspot for demonstrations, protesters blocked key roads and set piles of tyres on fire.

Police in coastal Mombasa fired teargas at a crowd trying to march into the city. In Nairobi riot police were deployed ahead of expected protests.

Security Minister Fred Matiangi on Thursday banned rallies in the centre of Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, accusing opposition supporters of lawlessness after incidents in which property was destroyed, passers-by robbed or assaulted, and business disrupted.

However the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition vowed to push on with a planned protest Friday, and stage rallies every day next week.

“We will continue with our demonstrations as planned across the country,” said one of the coalition’s leaders Moses Wetangula.

– Gunshot wounds –

The protests come as Kenya is mired in confusion over a presidential election that is due to take place in less than two weeks, on October 26.

The country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 election — won by President Uhuru Kenyatta — citing irregularities in the counting process and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

The decision was a rare victory for Odinga, a veteran opposition leader who failed to win election in 1997, 2007 and 2013, claiming to have been cheated of victory in the latter two votes.

Many observers agreed the 2007 election was deeply flawed, and it triggered politically motivated tribal violence that left more than 1,100 dead.

Violence in the days after this year’s election left 37 dead, according to a local human rights group which said these were mostly at the hands of police.

Several were treated for gunshot wounds on Wednesday in Kisumu, according to a doctor at the local hospital.

The Supreme Court said a new election must take place within 60 days, and Odinga has demanded fundamental reforms such as the sacking of top IEBC officials and the recruitment of new companies to print ballot papers and run election technology.

While the IEBC has made some concessions to the opposition, it says these demands are impossible to meet in the constitutionally-mandated period.

Odinga has argued that his withdrawal from the race forces the IEBC to cancel the election and begin the whole process from scratch — allowing more time for his reforms.

However the IEBC appears to be pushing forward with plans for an October 26 vote, saying only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to officially pull out of the race.

by Fran BLANDY

“Yes” wins Catalonia independence vote marred by violence — 844 civilians treated in hospitals for injuries, plus 33 police officers

October 2, 2017

The Associated Press

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BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Catalonia’s regional government declared a landslide win for the “yes” side in a disputed referendum on independence from Spain that degenerated into mayhem Sunday, with more than 800 people injured as riot police attacked peaceful protesters and unarmed civilians trying to cast their ballots.

Catalonia has “won the right to become an independent state,” Catalan president Carles Puigdemont said after the polls closed, adding that he would keep his pledge to declare independence unilaterally if the “yes” side wins.

“Today the Spanish state wrote another shameful page in its history with Catalonia,” Puigdemont added, saying he would appeal to the European Union to look into alleged human rights violations during the vote.

Catalan regional government spokesman Jordi Turull told reporters early Monday that 90 percent of the 2.26 million Catalans who voted chose the “yes” side in favor of independence. He said nearly 8 percent of voters rejected independence and the rest of the ballots were blank or void. He said 15,000 votes were still being counted.

The region has 5.3 million registered voters, and Turull said the number of ballots didn’t include those confiscated by Spanish police during violent raids that aimed to stop the vote.

Spanish riot police attacked peaceful protesters in Catalonia on Sunday to try to disrupt a banned independence vote, injuring more than 700 people as Spain’s constitutional crisis deepened. (Oct. 1)

No one knows what will happen if Catalan officials follow through on their pledge to use the vote as a basis for declaring independence, a provocation that would possible remove from Spain one of its most prosperous regions, including the coastal city of Barcelona, the regional capital.

Hundreds of police armed with truncheons and rubber bullets were sent in from other regions to confiscate ballots and stop the voting, and amateur video showed some officers dragging people out of polling stations by the hair, throwing some down stairs, kicking them and pushing them to the ground. Anguished, frightened screams could be heard.

Police were acting on a judge’s orders to stop the referendum, which the Spanish government had declared illegal and unconstitutional — and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said going forward with the vote only served to sow divisions.

In a televised address after the majority of polls closed Sunday, he thanked the Spanish police, saying they had acted with “firmness and serenity” — comments sure to anger Catalans.

Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said the violence, while “unfortunate” and “unpleasant” was “proportionate.”

“If people insist in disregarding the law and doing something that has been consistently declared illegal and unconstitutional, law enforcement officers need to uphold the law,” Dastis told The Associated Press in an interview.

Catalans favoring a break with Spain have long wanted more than the limited autonomy they now have, arguing that they contribute far more than they receive from the central government, which controls key areas including taxes and infrastructure. The police aggression on Sunday was likely to only fuel the passion for independence, and the main separatist group urged the regional government to declare independence after the violent crackdown.

By day’s end, Catalan health services said 844 civilians had been treated in hospitals for injuries, including two in serious condition and another person who was being treated for an eye injury that fit the profile of having been hit by a rubber bullet. Thirty-three police officers were also injured.

At the Pau Claris School in Barcelona, amateur footage filmed by one voter showed police roughing up unarmed people standing in their way. Amateur video from other locations showed similar tactics, with people seen being hit, kicked and thrown around by police, including elderly people with their dogs, young girls and regular citizens of all stripes. Many tried to shield themselves from being smacked on the head.

There were also some signs of provocation by activists. In footage released by the Spanish Interior Ministry, some protesters were seen throwing objects and metal barriers at riot police.

Elisa Arouca, who was waiting to vote outside the Estel school in central Barcelona, reacted with anger when national police agents yanked her and other prospective voters out of the way, then smashed open the door and confiscated the ballot boxes.

She had been planning to vote in favor of keeping Catalonia part of Spain, but decided instead to join the march for independence. She moved to another polling station to try and cast her vote in favor of breaking away.

“I was always against independence, but what the Spanish state is doing is making me change my mind,” she said. “The national police and civil guard are treating us like criminals.”

There was no organized campaign for the “no” side in the vote, which most national political parties boycotted because it lacked legal guarantees and was suspended by the courts. Polls in recent years have shown roughly half of the 7.5 million residents of the region want to remain a part of Spain.

Mari Martinez, a 43-year-old waitress, said she didn’t vote. “I don’t lean toward independence, because we are part of Spain,” she said. “Today’s violence is not good for anybody. We never should have gotten to this point. Politicians haven’t done their job, and they should have reached an agreement a long time ago.”

A member of the Israeli parliament, sent to observe the vote, said she was shocked by the use of rubber bullets by Spanish police against crowds of unarmed voters.

“We did expect a normal democratic process,” said Ksenia Svetlova, part of a delegation of 33 observers invited by Catalan officials. “We knew that a lot of police were here but still, you know, there should be a respect for the will of the people to vote regardless of what you think of the referendum.”

Tensions were running so high that Barcelona played its soccer game against Las Palmas without fans after the team announced the match would be played behind closed doors shortly before kickoff, with thousands of soccer fans already outside the stadium. Barcelona wanted to postpone the game but said the Spanish league refused the request.

Manuel Condeminas, a 48-year-old IT manager who tried to block police from driving away with ballot boxes on Sunday, said police had kicked him and others before using their batons and firing the rubber bullets.

Elsewhere, civil guard officers, wearing helmets and carrying shields, used a hammer to break the glass of the front door and a lock cutter to break into the Sant Julia de Ramis sports center near the city of Girona that was being used as a polling station. A woman injured outside the building was wheeled away on a stretcher by paramedics.

Clashes broke out less than an hour after polls opened, and not long before Puigdemont, the Catalan regional president, was expected to turn up to vote at the sports center. Polling station workers reacted peacefully and broke out into songs and chants challenging the officers’ presence. Puigdemont was forced to vote in Cornella de Terri, near the northern city of Girona, his spokesman said.


Associated Press writer Alex Oller contributed to this report from Barcelona, and Gregory Katz and Frank Griffiths contributed from London.


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Spanish riot police in Barcelona on Sunday. Photograph by Emilio Morenatti for AP

Over 460 People Injured in Catalonia During Referendum: Barcelona Mayor

October 1, 2017

MADRID — More than 460 people have been injured in disturbances across Catalonia on Sunday, the Barcelona mayor said, as riot police clashed with people who had gathered for a banned referendum on the region’s independence from the rest of Spain.

“As mayor of Barcelona I demand an immediate end to police charges against the defenseless population,” Ada Colau said in a statement.

In a separate statement, the Catalan health service said 465 had been hurt, with two in serious condition in hospital.

(Reporting by Sonya Dowsett; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Adrian Croft)



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Spanish riot police in Barcelona on Sunday. Photograph by Emilio Morenatti for AP

Brawls Break Out Among Migrants Near French Port City Calais

August 22, 2017

PARIS — Authorities say as many as 200 migrants have clashed near the northern French port city of Calais, using sticks and iron bars in five battles pitting mainly Afghans against Eritreans.

The prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais region said up to 150 migrants were involved in the latest mass brawl on Tuesday afternoon. It says five people were slightly injured before police dispersed the group.

The prefecture says four previous fights started late Monday and continued until dawn. Six riot police were injured, along with 16 others.

Police detained seven migrants and put 20 others in administrative detention, meaning they risk expulsion from France.

Authorities cleared some 7,000 migrants from a makeshift camp in Calais last fall, but people hoping to enter Britain illegally via the English Channel are steadily returning.

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After a fight among migrants at calais, July 1, 2017.  The migrants were reportedly armed with sticks and stones. GETTY IMAGES

G20 protests: Why the international summit attracts so much anger

July 7, 2017
Fire burns on Hamburg, Germany street as protesters clash with police
Police scuffle, fire water cannons at G20 protesters in Hamburg, Germany

Police scuffle, fire water cannons at G20 protesters in Hamburg, Germany
Burned BMW with ‘capitalism kills’ written on it during G20 protests

Burned BMW with ‘capitalism kills’ written on it during G20 protests

WATCH ABOVE: Police, G20 protesters clash in Hamburg, Germany

Protesters are taking to the streets in Hamburg, Germany for the Group of Twenty (G20) Summit, and it’s not the first time the world leaders’ summit has attracted demonstrations.

A man holds a placard during a protest ahead the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 5, 2017.

A man holds a placard during a protest ahead the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 5, 2017. (REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach)

The annual summit, which consists of a series of formal and informal meeting between world leaders, often results in protests by advocacy groups calling for change on a variety of topics such as environmental policies, trade deals and labour laws.

Image result for welcome to hell, germany, photos

Julia Kulik, a researcher with the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs, says most international summits attract similar protests.

Why do the events attract protests?

The protests centre around an idea of “corporate greed and anti-capitalist views,” Kulik said.

A police car burns after G20 summit protesters set fire to it in downtown Toronto on Saturday, June 26, 2010.

A police car burns after G20 summit protesters set fire to it in downtown Toronto on Saturday, June 26, 2010.  Chris Young/CP

“The G20 was founded to make globalization for the benefit of all,” said Kulik, but after actions such as big-bank bailouts the public became less confident that the summit is “for the people.”

Kulik adds that many protesters want the summit to expand its agenda beyond “traditional economic issues” and address issues affecting the poor.

Transparency issues

There is often a lack of trust in government leaders to make decisions in the best interest of the public, and that is heightened by the fact that many of the summit’s meetings are private.

Kulik says that “99 per cent of what [leaders] do happens behind closed doors,” and press conferences are littered with political jargon.

Justin Trudeau poses with other leaders during the family photo at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

Justin Trudeau poses with other leaders during the family photo at the G20 Leaders Summit in Hangzhou, Sunday, Sept. 4, 2016.

Adrian Wyld/CP

“Seeing 20-21 people making decisions that affect the entire world is not appealing to a lot of people,” she said, explaining that the public wants to see the “path to reaching decisions.”

Summits are often held in countries that lack press freedom, meaning news coverage of the summit can be limited or censored. Journalists at last year’s summit in China were detained, Kulik pointed out.

What has happened at previous G20 summits?

Protests are generally a part of world leaders’ meetings, but high-profile summits attract the most demonstrations.

WATCH: Protesters take over Hamburg as Trudeau, world leaders arrive for G20 summit

In 2009, the G20 Summit in London, U.K., grew tense when riot police charged on a sit-down protest in the city centre. An estimated 4,000 people demonstrated in the city’s financial district before the summit even began. Following the summit, there were allegations of police brutality on protesters, and several officers were reprimanded.

A year later, the summit drew a similar scene in Toronto, when protests erupted through the city. The protests and large police presence led to the largest mass arrest in Canadian history, with more than 1,000 people sent to a detention centre. A report later found that police violated civil rights and detained some protesters illegally.

While every G20 meeting attracts protests, not all become violent or controversial.

READ MORE: Toronto G20 police misconduct case delayed after complainant axes lawyer

Protests were relatively peaceful at the 2014 Brisbane summit, Kulik says, explaining that location often plays a part in how heated demonstrations become. Australia is geographically isolated, meaning many people can’t easily travel there.

What is expected at this year’s G20 meeting?

About 4,000 marched through Hamburg Sunday, protesting climate and trade policies of the world’s largest economies.

The demonstration, which also saw protesters take to the water with a flotilla of hundreds of small boats, was organized by environmental, labour, human rights and church groups.

WATCH: Anti-G20 protests begin in Hamburg

Authorities are putting in place tight security and declaring certain areas of Hamburg off limits to protesters during the July 7-8 summit. According to The Telegraph, about 20,000 officers will be on guard for potential terror attacks, or should protests turn violent.

Kulik says it is possible things will escalate further because Germany is easily accessible to protesters from around Europe.

“Because of Germany’s history, it’ll be very hard to stop people from assembling,” the researcher says, noting that the country likely won’t want to be seen as limiting freedom of speech or demonstration.

— With files from The Associated Press

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


German police fire tear gas as rocks fly at anti-G20 protest — Seventy-six police officers injured

July 7, 2017


© Christof Stache, AFP | Riot Police use a water cannon during the “Welcome to Hell” rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017.

Video by Luke SHRAGO


Latest update : 2017-07-07

Demonstrations turned violent late Thursday ahead of a tricky first G20 summit for US President Donald Trump, as German police clashed with a hard core of masked anti-capitalist activists hurling bottles and stones.

What should have been a peaceful march by around 12,000 people in Hamburg protesting against globalisation was halted as police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse around 1,000 far-left militants.

Seventy-six police officers were injured, a spokesman for Hamburg’s police told AFP.

“Police are still being attacked,” he said.

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Officers called with loudspeakers on protestors to remove their masks but this was ignored and after more objects were thrown, authorities decided to separate them from the other protestors, police said on Twitter.

“Unfortunately it has come to the first clashes. We are implementing corresponding measures,” read another tweet.

Protesters were seen scrambling to leave the scene, while others defiantly stood in the way of water cannon trucks as they moved in surrounded by riot police with helmets and batons.

Police tweeted a photo of a car and flames and said shop windows were smashed.

The main “Welcome to Hell” march was then called off but thousands of people remained as night fell and demonstrators engaged in smaller skirmishes in the back streets of Germany’s second city, AFP correspondents said.

Up to 100,000 demonstrators are expected before and during the two-day Group of 20 meeting gathering Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China starting on Friday.

There were 20,000 police on standby together with armoured vehicles, helicopters and surveillance drones. A holding centre for detainees has been set up in a former hardware store with space for 400 people.

“War, climate change, exploitation are the result of the capitalist system that the G20 stands for and which 20,000 police are here to defend,” demonstrator Georg Ismail told AFP.

‘Welcome to hell’

Major events like the G20 have in recent years usually been held in remote locations, but Germany was forced by its logistical demands to host it in a large city with a big venue and dozens of hotels.

Hamburg is desperate to avoid a rerun of the kind of major clashes seen at the 2001 G8 summit in Genoa or the Frankfurt opening of the new European Central Bank building in 2015.

In Hamburg, some 30 demonstrations have been announced, organised by anti-globalisation activists and environmentalists, trade unions, students and Church groups.

“Welcome to Hell” organiser Andreas Blechschmidt said the motto is “a combative message… but it’s also meant to symbolise that G20 policies worldwide are responsible for hellish conditions like hunger, war and the climate disaster”.

Trump to meet Putin

The main focus of attention inside the G20 venue on the first day of the summit on Friday will be Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Putin.

Speaking in the Polish capital earlier on Thursday in front of 10,000 people, Trump didn’t mince his words about Moscow.

“We urge Russia to cease its destabilising activities in Ukraine and elsewhere, and its support for hostile regimes — including Syria and Iran — and to instead join the community of responsible nations in our fight against common enemies and in defence of civilisation itself,” he said.

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Arriving in Hamburg later Thursday, Trump headed to talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has vowed to defend the 2015 Paris climate accord despite the US leader’s decision to withdraw.

Merkel said before meeting the US president that Trump was facing isolation within the G20 over the issue — one of several topics where the new US leader is likely to clash with his fellow leaders.

“We are not going to paper over the differences but rather, we will call discord discord. Because there are also different opinions on some important questions,” Merkel said.

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Trump held a dinner with leaders of South Korea and Japan, focusing on North Korea’s successfully test of an intercontinental ballistic missile this week. He tweeted afterwards only that the meeting was “great”.

In his first public remarks since the test, Trump said in Warsaw that Pyongyang’s military sabre-rattling must bring “consequences” and warned he was considering a “severe” response to its “very, very bad behaviour”.


Venezuela’s top prosecutor says police killed protester — Sees violations of constitution

May 25, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

© Federico Parra, AFP | Venezuela’s Chief Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz delivers a press conference in Caracas, on May 24, 2017.

Latest update : 2017-05-25

Venezuela’s chief prosecutor further distanced herself from the socialist administration Wednesday, deepening the widest rift in a government that has otherwise presented a united front against six weeks of protests.

Public Prosecutor Luisa Ortega said a 20-year-old protester had been killed by a tear gas canister fired by state security forces, giving a version of events that contradicted others in the administration who have strenuously denied state forces were involved. Those officials said the protester was killed either by fellow demonstrators or criminals trying to make the government look bad.

Late Wednesday, Ortega announced that she was opening seven investigations into civilians who have been detained by military tribunals as a result of the anti-government protests. She said trials of civilians by military authorities violate the country’s constitution.

Protests against President Nicolas Maduro‘s government continued Wednesday, and there were more clashes between demonstrators and security forces.

Ortega said 55 people have been killed and about 1,000 injured in the unrest that has been seen almost daily since late March. She said about half of the deaths were caused by riot police and soldiers.

State-run television usually carries the speeches of government officials, but did not broadcast the one by Ortega.