Germany is second-guessing its decision to host the G20 summit after 476 police officers were injured during a weekend of violence in Hamburg.
Injuries include cuts, firework burns and eye damage from laser pointers. Hamburg Mayor Olaf Scholz praised police for their “heroic job” while slamming rioters for destroying the city.
“This cannot take place,” Scholz said Sunday. “This is unforgivable and indefensible.”
Just 186 people out thousands of rioters were arrested throughout the weekend, and authorities expect a difficult job identifying more perpetrators. Minister for Foreign Affairs Sigmar Gabriel compared violent protestors to neo-Nazis, calling the events an “orgy of brutality.”
“The offenders do not differ at all from neo-Nazis and their fire attacks,” Gabriel said in an op-ed in tabloid Bild am Sonntag.
Scholz and Chancellor Angela Merkel both defended the decision to host the summit despite harsh criticism from the German press.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the unchained violence and unrestrained brutality that the police faced repeatedly during the G-20,” Merkel said Saturday during a press conference at the end of the summit. “Apparently, there are people who have no interest in the issues and instead go on a rampage of blind destruction in their own neighborhood. Tough police measures are the only response to that.”
One police officer asked Merkel directly if she thought it was worth hosting the summit considering what the police force had to go through.
“You have protected something that I would say was worthy of protection,” Merkel replied.
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