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G20 protesters clash with police, set cars on fire

Dozens of cars were set on fire as G20 protests turned violent in the Hamburg overnight.

Anti-globalization protesters set dozens of cars on fire and tried to block leaders’ delegations from entering the grounds of the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany Friday.

This is the second day of protests as leaders of the world’s top economies meet for the annual summit. Hamburg police had 20,000 officers on hand to patrol the city’s streets and have already demanded reinforcements from police forces around the country.

READ MORE: G20 protests: Why the international summit attracts so much anger

The protests centre on anti-capitalist views.

On Friday morning, activists shot firecrackers at a police helicopter and only narrowly missed it, police said. Windows at the Mongolian consulate were also broken and the tires of a car belonging to the Canadian delegation were punctured.

People use fire extinguishers during anti-G20 protests in Hamburg.
People use fire extinguishers during anti-G20 protests in Hamburg. Reuters
A woman holds a placard during the protest demonstration at the G20 summit. Sign reads "Solidarity instead of G20".
A woman holds a placard during the protest demonstration at the G20 summit. Sign reads "Solidarity instead of G20". REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
German police stand guard during a demonstration.
German police stand guard during a demonstration. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
A car is set on fire during the protests.
A car is set on fire during the protests. Reuters
A car is set on fire during the protests.
A car is set on fire during the protests. Reuters
A car is set on fire during the protests.
A car is set on fire during the protests. Reuters

Dozens of German officers built moving lines in different parts of the city and used water cannons to force away protesters from streets. Some were physically moved from a sit-in in front of the first security checkpoint near the summit grounds.

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Police later tweeted that all leaders made it safely to the city’s convention centre where the summit is taking place. None of the activists managed to push into the no-go zone around the summit that the police had established.

Greenpeace activists were also protesting and had a float, picturing a depiction of U.S. President Donald Trump in a diaper, seeming to defecate oil onto the planet while tearing up a climate change treaty.

Greenpeace anti-Trump protest float raises eyebrows in Hamburg
Greenpeace anti-Trump protest float raises eyebrows in Hamburg

Clashes across the city paled in comparison to the more violent skirmishes seen on Thursday night.

Police said that at least 111 officers were hurt during Thursday’s clashes, one of whom had to be taken to a hospital with an eye injury after a firework exploded in front of him. Twenty-nine people were arrested and a further 15 temporarily detained.

Smoke is seen from an apartment during anti-G20 protests in Hamburg Friday.
Smoke is seen from an apartment during anti-G20 protests in Hamburg Friday. Reuters

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

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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.

— With files from  and the Associated Press

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