A series of violent riots that engulfed the city of Hamburg during the G20 summit have provoked a wave of indignation among German politicians who demanded a radical change of approach toward violent protests, as well as to left-wing extremism.
Almost 500 security officials, including 180 federal police officers, have been injured in the incidents in Hamburg, de Maiziere said during the press conference on Monday. He added that “only two officers now remain in hospital,” although many more security officials still have not fully recovered.
In the meantime, the head of operations for the Hamburg police, Hartmut Dudde, put the number of injured officers from various police departments at 476 at a separate press conference. Dudde’s estimate was also confirmed by the head of the Hamburg police, Ralf Martin Meyer.
The riots continued for several nights in a row during the week of the G20 summit in Hamburg. Piles of debris, burned-out barricades, smashed shops and shattered glass transformed Hamburg into a scene resembling a battlefield by Saturday, June 8.
Some 186 demonstrators were arrested as a result of the riots, AFP reported, citing Dudde. The official number of the protesters injured in the clashes has not been provided.
Politicians focused the blame specifically on the flaws of the existing approach towards left-wing extremism and violence in Germany by saying that this problem has long been neglected by the authorities.
The head of the Free Democratic Party (FDP), Christian Lindner, demanded left-wing extremists’ activities be “much more closely monitored” by the German domestic security service, the BfV, which is usually tasked with dealing with terrorist activities or far-right extremists.
A member of the presidium of the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party, Jens Spahn, told Bild on Sunday that “the extent of left-wing extremism in Germany has been downplayed for years.”
If those were neo-Nazis who reduced Hamburg to “wreckage and ashes,” the public indignation would be rightfully big, he said, adding that “the left-wing fascists with their hatred and violence need just the same clear response.”
“Germany’s image in the international community has been severely damaged due to the incidents in Hamburg,” German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told Bild’s weekend edition following three nights of violent clashes between the left-wing radicals and police in the German northern port city that hosted the G20 summit.