A huge repressive police apparatus is mobilised against tens of thousands of peaceful protesters in and around the G8 summit, held near the east German town of Rostock. While the G8 leaders are wined and dined for two days, many thousands protesting their anti-poor and anti-working class policies face water cannons, riot police and armoured cars.
Starting very early on Wednesday, 6 June, thousands of protesters made their way as near as possible to the fortified G8 summit venue. The protesters’ intention was to blockade roads to the summit to disrupt the gathering of world powers. The CWI organised a contingent and with thousands of others, managed to get past the first lines of police.
There was jubilation amongst protesters, although they faced more lines of police and police hardware. CWI members from different European countries made speeches to several thousands in their part of the protests and sold socialist newspapers and anti-G8 badges. Some of the protesters were able to get to the huge summit wall, constructed at the cost of millions of euros to keep G8 leaders from opposition voices. It was reported that several police agent provocateurs, dressed in black clothing, wearing face masks, and acting extremely aggressively, were exposed by genuine protesters on one of the blockades. Subsequently these police agents ran away from the demonstration.
Later in the evening, the police moved against the blockade protests. Dozens were injured and arrested when police forced an ending to two of the protests. At 6pm the police claimed that protesters at one of the blockade points around Heiligendamm were arming themselves with molotov cocktails and that they had removed several blockades. This was a complete fabrication and was even exposed by a number of journalists reporting on the events, much to the embarrassment of the police.
Also on the evening of 6 June, hundreds of riot police completely surrounded the main protesters’ campsite, Camp Rostock, which holds around 6,000 people, including the CWI camping contingent. The police gave no warning for their imtimidatory actions. Most protesters were at the summit blockades or other anti-G8 events, and not at the campsite. But many of those left behind, including arents with very young children, were ery worried about their safety. Rostock CWI councillor, Christine Lehnert, went to the police camp encirclement o protest. There were reports the police intended to raid the campsite to look for ’weapons’. Camp organisers challenged the police and found they did not have a legal permit to enter the camp. Finally, the police decided to withdraw.
The police have a continual presence near the different protesters’ camps, and last weekend they organised another large presence at the main entrance gates of Camp Rostock, until camp organisers finally managed to negotiate a police withdrawal.
On 6 June, German courts also banned a planned anti-G8 demonstration from Rostock to the G8 Summit, scheduled for 7 June, claiming it was likely to be violent. In a separate case, the legal courts also banned a Rostock demonstration by the neo-Nazi NPD party, also set for 7 June. Police made the outrageous implication that anti-G8 protesters and fascists are the same and both their events have to be forbidden by courts.
During Wednesday, CWI supporters also participated in the Alternative Summit in Rostock, selling socialist papers and literature. A CWI meeting at the Alternative Summit, ’Is Chavez the new Che Guevara?’ attracted nearly 60 people, and several said they were interested in joining the CWI. Another CWI meeting on ’What is Trotskyism?’ was also successful. Despite police harassment at Camp Rostock, members from several European CWI sections ran stalls and held, appropriately, a public meeting on, ’The State and Revolution’.
The Rostock G8 summit has seen a massive show of strength by the German state and a direct attack on democratic rights. This is the only response the Merkel government and the other world leaders have to the mass protesters valid demands for an end to global poverty, imperialist wars, environmental destruction and class exploitation. For millions around the world following events in Rostock this week, it will be clear who the real violent criminals are and that we need to overthrow the bosses’ system they represent.