More than 500 police officers were injured, but 35 officers now face prosecution for trying to push back rioters who threw missiles, started fires and looted shops as they “protested against capitalism”.
A spokesman told Die Welt, a German daily that they expect the number of “personal injury” claims to rise from 35 cases over the next few days.
Thursday’s controversial “Welcome to Hell” protest brought members of anarchist, socialist, anti-globalisation, green, feminist and Kurdish nationalist movements together to promote violence against law enforcement.
After groups of hardcore anarchist activists in black masks and clothing had torched cars and smashed shop fronts in the Altona district in the early hours of Friday, the Antifa protesters had moved to the city’s alternative scene, the Schanzenviertel quarter.
Christoph Lührs from the Hamburg office had informed Die Welt on Friday morning of 35 ongoing investigations against police officers that have been confirmed. He assumed that the number would continue to rise. In 27 of the 35 cases, he said, charges involved personal injury.
Of these 35 cases, 28 were based on third-party charges. The remaining seven proceedings were initiated ex officio by the Department of Internal Investigation (DIE), including four cases of bodily harm. There are no further details on the nine new cases.
The police have not yet been able to say how many criminal charges have so far been raised in connection with the G-20 summit. At the moment, the police are in the process of collecting the necessary data for a parliamentary referral. This will take some time, spokesman Florian Abbenseth told Die Welt.
The prosecutor has provided additional forces from his own ranks to deal with the criminal prosecution of the G-20 riots. The responsible department is supported by three prosecutors from other areas.
Prosecutors from other federal states will not be involved however. “The enormous amount of work will therefore only be achieved by delaying other tasks,” said Frombach.
First, the current detention procedures are to be concluded as well as discussions with the Hamburg police for the screening of new photographic evidence.
Some tweeters had complained to the Hamburg police that too few rioters were arrested.
Ich habe nur eine Frage: Warum gab es so wenige Festnahmen?
— Helmut Becker (@Roman49) July 8, 2017
The work of the police at the G-20 summit was repeatedly defended by Hamburg’s mayor, Olaf Scholz (SPD). When asked if the police were too harsh and if there were signs of police violence, he told the station NDR 90.3 on Friday morning: “Police violence did not occur.”
Scholz added: “That is an accusation that I firmly reject. I want to say expressly, there were very brave, very courageous, very difficult operations of the police.”
Even in demonstrations with mainly peaceful participants, the police had used partial pepper spray and water jets on Friday of last week as the violence in the Schanzenviertel escalated.
“And the police have really done everything possible,” said Scholz. In the wake of such a summit, everything was always prepared, he added. He believed that the police should not be blamed for this either.
The police in Hamburg appeared to have essentially lost control as masked rioters set fire to barricades, dug up pavements for ammunition and looted local shops, including a supermarket, an Apple retail store and a pharmacy. Ironically the Budnikoswky pharmacy they looted is known for handing out apprenticeships to “refugees”.
The police even had to fire warning shots to scare away aggressive rioters.
Ein Polizeibeamter wurde im Schanzenviertel massiv von Gewalttätern angegriffen & gab einen Warnschuss ab.#G20HAM17
— Polizei Hamburg (@PolizeiHamburg) July 7, 2017
Even as Andreas Blechschmidt, one of the organisers of Thursday’s” Welcome to Hell” march, condemned the rioters’ “mindless violence”, it did not stop the rioters from blaming and charging the police.
A blogger noted that “approximately 20 000 police armed with the best crowd control technology money can buy utterly lost control of downtown Hamburg”.
“This shows that, even with the very latest technologies, no amount of police violence can control a population that refuses to be dominated. This is good news for partisans of freedom everywhere around the world,” crimethinc.com said.
“In addition to tactical concerns, however, the most important blow to the police has been that, by going too far in seeking to control the population by brute force, they lost legitimacy in the public eye. Their absurd and unprovoked attack on yesterday’s Welcome to Hell demonstration turned the entire city against them. No wonder they have lost control.”
Meanwhile We Are Change journalist Luke Rudkowski, independent Dresden-based journalist Max Bachmann and Marcus DiPaola of Heavy.com were attacked by Antifa while covering the G20 protests after being labeled as “Nazis” by a local mainstream reporter from the German daily Die Zeit.
The reporter from Die Zeit evidently has strong links with the Antifa, and his network of extremist friends continuously tweeted out the whereabouts of the independent journalists. The Antifa chased down the independent journalists and assaulted them.
— Marcus DiPaola (@marcusdipaola) July 10, 2017