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Reports on G8 riots

G8 Warm-Up Tour: Whose World Is This?
from David Rovics’ Songwriter’s Notebook

The riots in Rostock, Germany began around 3 pm last Saturday. In European riots outside of G8 meetings and such, generally all sides refrain from using lethal weapons. (If anybody breaks with this tradition – such as Genoa in 2000 or Gothenberg in 2001 – it is always the police.) The riots on Saturday were part of a long series of such confrontations around Germany, around Europe, around the world.

On one side were many thousands of police brought in from all over Germany, dressed in space-age green or black riot gear. On the other were thousands of mostly young men and women, mostly German but including participants from all over Europe and a smattering of other places, many wearing balaclavas or bandanas over their faces, most dressed in black.

These events are strangely beautiful, partly like a brilliantly choreographed modern dance performance with the city as it’s stage, partly like a medieval battle. Many of those who don’t wish to be involved leave the scene in a hurry, many others find some high ground and watch the melee unfold, and quite a few more try to keep on with whatever they were doing before the riot started and hope it ends soon.

For months before the event tension had been building, as is standard before these big convergences. As if following a script, the German authorities raided leftwing social centers throughout the country looking for people they described ominously as “terrorists.” (What a useful word for anybody you don’t like.) These raids were reported throughout the European press, of course. The idea is to scare people off from coming to the protests. As usual, it worked, and the crowds were probably less than half what they would be if so many people had not been afraid to go.

Police were stopping people driving suspicious-looking vehicles, looking for gas masks, fireworks, or other things they didn’t want at the G8 protests. Of course, anybody coming in a day early driving a normal-looking rental car like me had no problems and could have brought anything into Rostock, but if you were trying to bring some banned item in with a home-made “pull-me-over” car, or a big bus full of anarchists, you had problems.

Read entire post.

The G-8 Summit and the Provocateurs
Submitted to Portside By Victor Grossman

Among the crowd now determined to stop the Mollie were some from the so-called “Black Bloc”, protesters dressed in black clothes with hoods who had not pledged to non-violent tactics, and who had been involved in tough clashes with the police on the first day of the anti-G-8 protests on Saturday. These had provided the expected giant headlines, the one-sided and exaggerated reports in most of the media. But here they seemed peaceful. The group which had crossed through the fields so dramatically wanted to avoid giving the police new opportunities to move in with their batons, water cannon and the new big cages for arrestees. But something was funny about four members of the black-clad contingent. One of them, possibly the leader of the little group, wore a jacket with the red logo of a music group called “Slip-Knot”, popular with globalization opponents. This was unusual, since the others avoided any details which would make them easily identifiable on police videos. And then, as the line of cops took up position nearby, ready to end the blockade, it was these four who started picking up stones from between the railroad tracks and lobbing them over towards the police and shouting “Get the bulls”! Then one of the other protesters took a good look at the young man with the logo before he had a chance to pull up his bandana-mask

That’s the same fellow who arrested me during a demonstration in Bremen last year!” [emphasis added] he cried, and he and his friends made a grab for the four. Two of the four made it to police lines, one disappeared, but they caught the one with the red logo, presumably the leader. They did not treat him exactly gently, it must be admitted, but one of the group organizers took hold of the man; sheltering him from the crowd, and dragged him over and delivered him to the police line – and safety.

Although this episode ended the stone throwing, the police started up with their water cannon anyway, excuse or no excuse.

Read entire post.

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