Rift among German Officials over Choosing Hamburg as G-20 Summit Venue

News ID: 1460814 Service: World
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TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Holding the G-20 Summit in the wealthy port city of Hamburg in Germany has not only resulted in days of chaos in the region but also caused a rift among German officials with each party holding other parties responsible for the riots.

According to Reuters, tens of thousands of demonstrators protested at the G20 international forum of world leaders.

Cars and barricades ablaze, shops plundered, water cannons in constant operation, injuries, devastated city quarters, heavily armed special police units; this was the images of Hamburg that circled the globe during the event.

Hundreds of police officers have been injured, although it is not clear how many protesters were injured.

Merkel Reaction

German chancellor Angela Merkel has condemned the protesters' actions.

“I have every understanding for peaceful demonstrations but violent demonstrations put human lives in danger,” she said.

Was G-20 Summit Really Worth It

Germany's Spiegel wrote in an article titled “Was the G-20 Summit Really Worth It?” that overshadowed by the violence on the streets outside, Angela Merkel and the rest of the G-20 leaders managed to find mini-compromises on major issues in Hamburg. But the question remains: Was it all worth it? Or was the price too high?

At first glance, the political results and messages presented by the club of global economic powers leave room for doubt. The arduously negotiated closing declaration is so weakly formulated that, as usual, all participating countries can live with it, the German newspaper said.

Spiegel judged that Merkel, who faces elections on September 24, "must realize that it is mostly pictures of burning cars and black-clad radicals that will be remembered from the G20 summit".

"Many had warned against hosting such a huge event in a major city with a left-wing radical scene. Now the worst fears have come true - and a dark shadow has been cast over the summit shortly before the national election."

Everybody Went Totally Mad

The US-based New York Times said in an article titled, “Violence Erupts at Hamburg Protests: Everybody Went Totally Mad” that Hamburg has a long history of leftist politics, with occasional clashes between anarchists and the police. But the violence on Friday night rose to a level that shocked some longtime residents.

Contempt for G20 Leaders

The Canadian ‘Globe and Mail’ newspaper wrote about contempt for G20 growing after divided leaders left vandalized Hamburg.

The newspaper noted that many Hamburg shops had been looted as well and as residents came out to survey the damage, many were furious at the government’s decision to host the Group of 20 summit there.

When Merkel selected Hamburg as the site of the 2017 G20 summit, she hoped to showcase her birthplace as a beacon of free speech and democracy. She took pains to meet with protest groups before the summit, hoping to head off any extremist activity and ensure that the voices of dissent were heard, it said.

The ‘Globe and Mail’  added: By the time world leaders departed on Saturday, Hamburg was reeling from days of violent clashes that left more than 400 police officers injured, around 400 protesters in jail, and caused untold damage to businesses and homes. And with little accomplished at the G20 meeting itself, many people here are now questioning the value of these summits.

Rift among German Officials, Parties

According to the Canadian newspaper, Merkel defended her decision to host the meeting in Hamburg by saying G20 summits had been held in other large cities, such as London and Toronto, and that Hamburg could not have “shirked responsibility,” but her foreign minister, Sigmar Gabriel, suggested that all future G20s should be held in New York, the headquarters of the United Nations.

It further wrote: Some politicians were quick to condemn the decision to locate the meeting in Hamburg and police described the protests as a “new dimension” of violence. “The G20 summit should never have been held in a city … like Hamburg – the security situation is too hard to control,” said Hans-Peter Uhl, a politician in Ms. Merkel’s centre-right coalition.

The ‘Globe and Mail’ newspaper went on to write that many others said the protests shouldn’t deter countries from hosting the G20, which they said was an important occasion for world leaders to meet. The G20 is “absolutely” still relevant, said John Kirton, co-director of the G20 Research Group at the University of Toronto. “It’s getting more effective summit by summit.”

In the meantime, the Local Germany newspaper said in an article titled, “After Riots, Merkel Takes Flak for Decision to Hold G20 in Hamburg” that raging street battles that marred Germany's G20 summit have sparked a political fight over how Hamburg could descend into "mob rule" and why Merkel chose a hotbed of leftist militancy as the venue.

Criticism also came from Merkel's conservative camp, with Bavarian CSU politician Hans-Peter Uhl charging that "the G20 summit should never have been held in a city of millions like Hamburg. Security is way too difficult to control there."

Merkel's government had long argued that it chose the northern port city, which dubs itself Germany's cosmopolitan "Gateway to the World", because it symbolized G20 core values from open trade to an internationalist outlook.

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