After Germany’s police discovered a trove of weapons while evicting protesters who had gathered in public parks in Hamburg in anticipation of this weekend’s G-20 summit, Der Spiegel reports that the country’s defense ministry has asked soldiers who are on duty this weekend not to wear their uniforms…for their own safety.
“Soldiers in uniform who are moving around the city during the announced protests could be the target of spontaneous attacks by violent left-wing extremist protesters,” according to an internal memo from the defense ministry, according to the Der Spiegel report, which was cited in a report by Russia Today.
To avoid attacks, soldiers have been ordered to appear in civilian dress in the host city from July 5 to 9 while the meetings are taking place. According to the ministry, protesters could attempt to disrupt the summit by occupying streets and logistics routes, as well as by targeting urban infrastructure and the city’s port.
Clashes occurred Tuesday night in the Neuer Pferdemarkt area, where thousands of activists have been rallying throughout the day, according to RT. At least 15,000 police officers from all of Germany’s federal states are being deployed to ensure public security at the summit.
Earlier, Germay’s Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere warned that while peaceful demonstrations are welcome, violent protests will not be tolerated. Hamburg Interior Minister Andy Grote warned about violent actions during the protests, but assured the public that police are “prepared for this.”
Protests began days before the opening of the G20 summit, scheduled for Friday. Riot police used water cannon against protesters opposing the summit on Tuesday night. Thousands of activists had been rallying throughout the day on the Hamburg streets.
More than 10,000 protesters from across Europe are expected to flock to Hamburg, the report says, specifically making mention of anti-capitalist demonstrators from Greece, Spain, and Italy. It added that the protesters may target the G20 summit, as they regard it as representing capitalism.
World leaders, including US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be attending the summit.