G20 summit overshadowed by violence

After the heavy rioting during the G20 summit in Hamburg, politicians are now discussing the lessons to be learned. 186 people were arrested and 225 more taken into custody during the protests. Some media criticise journalists for playing down the violence. Others complain that little attention was paid to peaceful protests.

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Der Nordschleswiger (DK) /

Where is the demonstration we dream of?

The Nordschleswiger is completely at a loss after the riots in Hamburg, citing the man who claims to be the last Marxist in the Danish parliament:

“Sadly, many other forms of action at the G20 summit went unnoticed. Greenpeace, Amnesty, the Society for Threatened Peoples and many individuals tried to draw attention to their causes in colourful, creative ways. But unfortunately hardly anyone saw them because everyone was hypnotised by the water cannons and Molotov cocktails.The 'last Marxist in the Folketing', Christian Juhl, found the right words on Facebook: 'When will we lefties manage to organise a peaceful, creative demonstration to show the capitalist rulers at the summit what we dream of and what we are fighting for?'”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Media in denial about left-wing violence

With an eye to Hamburg Dagens Nyheter wonders why so many media are apparently blinder in the left eye than in the right:

“Most media used guarded words to describe the riots in Hamburg. … [Radio broadcaster] P1 described the events in which 76 police officers were injured as unruly. … No one would refer to a violent demonstration by right-wing extremists as unruly. … All political violence, whether it comes from the right, the left, or is religiously motivated, is unacceptable in a democratic society. Monitoring one side closely doesn't mean you can simply ignore the other.”

Gość Niedzielny (PL) /

Growing scepticism regarding Western Europe

The images from Hamburg exemplify the radical differences of perspective between the Viségrad states and Western Europe, the Catholic magazine Gość Niedzielny comments:

“There is no greater contrast between the old and the new Europe than the images of Donald Trump's visits to Warsaw and Hamburg. In Poland we were treated to the spectacle of happy people celebrating the arrival of the US president. In Germany, by contrast, angry people wreaked havoc in the city. These images show why scepticism regarding Western Europe is growing not only in Poland but also in the Czech Republic and Hungary.”

Birgün (TR) /

The desire for a good life for all

The leftist daily Birgün shows understanding for the Hamburg riots:

“While 20 heads of state calmly enjoy the world's most exquisite menus and sleep in lilly-white sheets, young people are pummelled by water cannons, their eyes streaming from the pepper spray. All the children of this world who want freedom have one basic request: a life of equality and justice, far from any form of exploitation. Just as they were in Istanbul, Athens and Buenos Aires, in Hamburg too in particular ATMs have been smashed and the sinfully expensive cars in the well-to-do districts have been torched. Why? We're setting the world that doesn't belong to us on fire. Either we all belong to it or no one does.”

Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

Not protest but vandalism

The summit was overshadowed by images of violence, Mladá fronta dnes fears:

“The summit of the global elite stood very much in the shadow of burning Hamburg and street fighters who are euphemistically referred to as demonstrators. These images of violence say far more about the state of the West than the results of the less-than-decisive summit. Such violence is fuelled by the feeling of being treated unfairly. The perpetrators don't see this world as their own. They don't want to change, but to destroy. ... Merkel wanted to show that a mature democracy can deal with public criticism and dissent. But things worked out differently.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

Dangerous sympathies with anarchists

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung finds it incomprehensible and dangerous that some Germans show support for radical demonstrators:

“'All Hamburg hates the police' the 'demonstrators' chanted during their raids in the city. The notion that they had the support of the people wasn't plucked out of thin air. When grandmothers wish the demonstrators luck, when on Friday, after the first night of riots, a leading daily attacked not the criminals but the police for allegedly provoking the violence, it's a dangerous game of sympathy with anarchists. But we got a glimpse in Hamburg of what anarchy really means the day after: not democracy but lawlessness, violence, destruction.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

A warning for Sweden

Riots have nothing to do with democratic changes in society, Aftonbladet observes:

“When activists use violence to achieve their political goals, when they injure people and destroy property, they have abandoned democratic dialogue. Then society has the right and duty to defend itself. Socialism or a utopian society can't be built on shattered windows and burning cars. Hamburg was a warning. In November Gothenburg will host an EU summit for fair jobs and growth. The Swedish authorities must be substantially better prepared for all eventualities than the Germans were.”