Burning Barricades and Police Brutality at Hamburg's G20 Protests
How I got soaked by a water cannon covering a weekend of rioting.
All photos via the author.
Words by VICE Staff
As world leaders gathered in Hamburg last week for the G20 summit, an estimated 50,000 protesters brought the city to a standstill with an unwelcoming-party cheerfully dubbed "Welcome to Hell". There were a mixture of activist groups: from up-for-it anarchists dressed in black-block gear and ready for a ruck, to a "blue-block" of Smurfs wanting to "make Trump Smurf again", like some weird protest-cum-stag-do. Protesters were intent on targeting the infrastructure of the city, in particular the port, in order to "shut down the logistics of capital".
The police tactics were indiscriminately oppressive. They used tear gas, pepper spray and water cannons to disperse the crowds. In retaliation, certain groups headed to richer areas of the city to burn cars after the firsts night's clashes. Friday night saw more intense rioting, and some stores were looted in the Schanze district. This allowed the Angela Merkel to condemn protesters, saying, "There is no justification for plundering, arson and brutal attacks on the lives of police officers... anyone who acts in this way places himself outside our democratic community".
VICE journalist Henry Langston was there covering the protests and making a film. In the process he got shot in the arse with one of the 48 water-cannon the police had deployed, which sucked because he spent the rest of the weekend with damp trousers. Despite this, he managed to take some photos of all the chaos he saw, which you can see below.
Check back to VICE.com later in the week for a think-piece about the protests, and next week for Henry's film.