Police in Hamburg clashed with protesters for a second day Friday as leaders of the world’s 20 richest economies opened talks.Those talks include President Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Russian leader Vladimir Putin, an encounter on the sidelines that will be closely watched.
Leftist demonstrators were out in force again Friday, forming human chains to block access by delegations to the summit site. Riot police moved in and used water cannons to disperse the protesters.
The big item on the agenda was Trump’s meeting with Putin, set for Friday afternoon. President Trump was expected to raise the issues of Syria, Ukraine, North Korea, and possibly allegations of Russian meddling in U.S. elections.
“I look forward to all meetings today with world leaders, including my meeting with Vladimir Putin.Much to discuss,” said the U.S. president, in a Tweet Friday.
At an earlier stop in Poland, Trump accused Moscow of engaging in destabilizing behavior.
“We urge Russia to cease its destabilizing 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 the defense of civilization itself,” he said.
Russia denied the charges.
The U.S. leader had other meetings scheduled with the leaders of Mexico and Britain on Friday.
Trump was also to join a discussion on climate, an issue driving many of the protesters who took to the streets of Hamburg again on the first day of the summit.
Protesters aim to disrupt
German officials had been anticipating big protests in the city in the run-up to the two-day gathering and have deployed 20,000 officers, including some brought in from other European countries.
Police officials said 8,000 demonstrators were already in the city, and they were expecting a second wave of demonstrations on Friday afternoon.
Officials said protests were expected to peak on Saturday, with as many as 100,000 protesters descending on the streets of the city.
Protesters have set up camps in central Hamburg where they have been sleeping in tents and lining up for free vegan meals.
Most demonstrators approached by a reporter at two camps were reluctant to be interviewed. “People are really suspicious about the media. They feel that the media is more against us than with us, that the media is more with the G-20 and not with the protests and that makes people suspicious,” a demonstrator told VOA.
The protesters’ aim is to disrupt the G-20 summit.Most support leftist and anarchist causes and see the grouping as a gathering of the world’s wealthy elite who they blame for global economic disparities.Their target is largely President Trump, and many said they are outraged by his decision to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord.
The demonstrators, who are largely German, also took aim at Chancellor Angela Merkel.“She is representing all the connections and all the work with lobbyists, with the automobile industries, with the war industries. She is also representative for lobbyism, for capitalism,” said a demonstrator.