Thousands protest against the G7 ahead of Germany summit
GARMISCH-PARTENKIRCHEN, Germany // Thousands of demonstrators marched in the German resort town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday to protest against a meeting of leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations that starts on Sunday at a nearby luxury hotel.
Police estimated the crowd at 2,000 while organisers put it at up to twice that number. Demonstrators jeered the police, who outnumbered them massively, but there was no violence.
About 17,000 German police have been deployed around the summit site in the Bavarian Alps and another 2,000 Austrian police were on standby across the nearby border.
The German chancellor Angela Merkel will welcome the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Italy, Japan, the United States and the European Union at the meeting, which is expected to focus on issues such as climate change, the fight against pandemics, Middle East turmoil and an upsurge of violence in Ukraine.
This will be the second summit of industrial nations to exclude Russia, which was frozen out of the G8 following its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region last year.
Russia is also accused of supporting separatist rebels in eastern Ukraine, where there has been a flare-up of fighting in recent days despite a ceasefire agreement.
The Russia president Vladimir Putin insisted in an interview published on Saturday that he was still committed to a Ukraine peace deal, and said his counry was not a threat to the West.
“I would like to say – there’s no need to be afraid of Russia,” Mr Putin told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, ruling out a major conflict between Russia and Nato member countries.
“The world has changed so much that people in their right mind cannot imagine such a large-scale military conflict today.”
The Russian president spoke ahead of his visit to Italy next week that will include a meeting with Pope Francis.
* Reuters and Agence France-Presse
Published: June 6, 2015 04:00 AM