Thousands of Protestors Block G8 Summit, Clash with Police, As Bush Derails Climate Talks

Thousands of protesters have laid siege to the G8 meetings in Germany where climate change is on the top of the agenda. Germany was hoping to get an agreement among the worlds 8 wealthiest nations (and some of the largest polluters) to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2050. Despite these emission cuts being far weaker than is necessary to address global warming, Bush refused to agree to them. Instead he forced through a resolution agreeing that the G8 nations would “significantly reduce” GHG emissions, without setting any specific commitments. In order for us to avoid the worst effects of climate change, we need to reduce global GHG emissions by at least 80% by 2050. Until then… TO THE BARRICADES!

Jun 7, 2007

Around 10,000 anti-capitalist protesters clashed with police and blocked roads to a Baltic resort where world leaders gathered on Wednesday for a summit.

Police turned water cannons on some 2,500 protesters in order to clear one of the roads to the venue for the Group of Eight summit in the Baltic resort of Heiligendamm. Police detained some 160 protesters in the skirmishes.

Delegates from several G8 countries, including host Germany, said the protests were limiting their ability to move around at the venue, a seaside resort on Germany’s Baltic coast.

Eight officers were injured during earlier clashes with protesters near the town of Bad Doberan, police spokesman Luedger Behrens said. Police “used water cannons twice after demonstrators bombarded police with stones,” he said.

The demonstrators were trying to block access to a luxury hotel on the coast in Heiligendamm where G8 leaders including US President George Bush were gathering.

By late afternoon, all three roads leading into Heiligendamm were blocked off by protesters before police moved in to clear a route through.

“There are about 2,500 demonstrators in the area and we cannot make any guarantees that the roads will stay cleared,” said Behrens.

One German official said the only way into Heiligendamm had been via boat or helicopter. Another said the demonstrations had become a “major problem” for journalists covering the summit.

“We’re stuck here now. The whole place looks shut down,” an official from one of the G8 delegations said by telephone from inside the summit venue.

Protesters celebrate

The protesters themselves were in a jubilant mood.

“It’s a great success just to be able to sit here,” said Gunar Finke, a student from the southern German city of Freiburg. “It’s only a symbolic step but it’s an important one to show we’re against G8 policies.” “We had a super plan and we surprised the police, who didn’t know how to stop us,” he said.

Akie Abe, wife of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, was forced to cancel a planned tour of the nearby Baltic resort town of Kuehlungsborn on Wednesday because of the demonstrations.

Dozens of protesters damaged a steam train being used to shuttle journalists between the summit venue and the media centre in Kuehlungsborn. It has since been repaired but protesters were sitting on the tracks and blocking it.

Some 16,000 security personnel are in the area. World leaders are shielded from demonstrators by a 12-km fence topped with barbed wire.

The Federal Constitutional Court, Germany’s highest court, ruled against plans for a demonstration on Thursday outside the fence. But with some protesters already at the fence that decision had been made largely irrelevant.

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