G20 Hamburg

Welcome to hell: riots in Germany’s metropolis

20 Group Members

The Summit of the Heads of State and Government was held in Hamburg on 7 and 8 July 2017; among them Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and more.

Demonstrations were announced throughout the country, oppositional voices against the summit however were the loudest in Hamburg itself.

This article exhibits exclusive photos and videos of four days of protests, riots and police work.

1 000 Gestalten

Noteable peaceful demonstrations include "1000 Gestalten" and "Demo-Rave"

1000 Gestalten (guises) was one of the noteable peaceful demonstration ahead of the summit
1000 Gestalten (guises) was one of the noteable peaceful demonstration ahead of the summit
Demo-Rave starting at Landungsbrücken
Demo-Rave starting at Landungsbrücken
Demo-Rave
Demo-Rave

20 000 Policemen

were deployed from across Germany to contain the protests

Welcome to hell demonstration
Welcome to hell demonstration

Progression

The protest rally "Welcome to hell" should have been started already, but there wasn't any movement so far.

The police was standing on the sideway right next to the black bloc, almost like anticipating something to happen and sure enough, when the first gas clouds of pepper spray were rising above the crowd, the music stopped playing and the tension that has build up was releasing as a physical conflict of baton and pepper spray against thrown bottles and firecrackers.

Same demo continued later on
Same demo continued later on

100 000 Protesters

While the great battle raged, Brutus vociferated to his consort behind the cover in a grating call: "Behold, a mere five furlong ahead is the trundling water behemoth!"
While the great battle raged, Brutus vociferated to his consort behind the cover in a grating call: "Behold, a mere five furlong ahead is the trundling water behemoth!"
Rioters used wooden planks and waste container to keep up the fires
Rioters used wooden planks and waste container to keep up the fires

When the police didn't push any further into the turmoil, rioters began to light dumpsters on fire and dismantled parts of the construction site to boost the ongoing flames on the streets.

People have climbed the scaffolding to observe the happening from the roof
People have climbed the scaffolding to observe the happening from the roof

The fire places expanded into the adjoining street Schulterblatt which is characterized by its numerous bars, restaurants and the location of the Rote Flora, a squatted building which acts as a major meeting point for the politically left.

The few major stores and branches in that street got severely vandalized and partly looted as well.

The lesser-known clashes

Mainstream media has mostly covered the big events happening til midnight, but many moments around the G20 conflicts happend apart from journalists or after midnight which created capturing stories.

Raining dollar notes

There was this surreal moment for me where I was standing at the place of the Rote Flora to film a group of policemen running down the street. Not only was a fire cracker thrown to them at this instant, but dollar notes were raining from the sky onto groups of people on the street. I was able to not only capture one note mid-air, but also the whole event on camera.

Snatching dollar from money rain
"Dollar of Ignorance" was part of an artwork called "La Bestia" by Roberto Arámbula
"Dollar of Ignorance" was part of an artwork called "La Bestia" by Roberto Arámbula

Cinematic spotlight from the sky

Weeks before the summit even started helicopters were flying pretty much constantly above the city. When the streets were burning, one of them came particularly close, shining a bright spotlight onto the crowd. We were standing there like waiting to get picked up by some aliens.

The smoke from the fires contoured the light and created a cinematic scene that could have been directly from a movie. At one point even fireworks started to shot up and filled the space, where the holy light came from, with sparkles. If this would have been a movie, I'd have classified it as excessive drama.

Infinitely many blue lights

In a matter of seconds police busses of all kinds filled the street from one end to another.

No clue how many these were as it stretched further than one could see, so my humble estimation would be all of them. Certainly it felt like that.

Police busses from one end of the street to the other
Police and rioters are facing each other underneath a bridge. You can see one of the rioters shining a laser to the police men, another holding a glass bottle behind his back.
Police and rioters are facing each other underneath a bridge. You can see one of the rioters shining a laser to the police men, another holding a glass bottle behind his back.
"I rather dance, than G20"

130 000 000 Euro costs

had to be paid by the state and city for the whole summit for police work, press, damage repair and safety precaution.

Boulevard of broken shopwindows

Heading home I noticed a series of broken shopwindows in my street, presumably just after they got broken as alarms were still ringing and police hadn't arrived

Notable is that only bank subsidiaries, well known brands or prestigious shops were affected by it

Notes

The article is not an expression of my political view.

The medial content is not in chronological order.

There are 89 photos and videos displayed, while I took around 2900 photos and video. This means there is only 3% displayed from the captured event.

The article is partly named after the first noteworthy demonstration "Welcome to hell" that kicked off the series of conflicts.

The overall duration of captured events spans four days from 05. July to 08. July (also the last day of the summit).

Getting a glimpse to so many events involved walking, running, jumping and climbing for four days with equipment, resulting in a non-regretting tendinitis of a foot in the end.

The city of Hamburg is still coined by this event, with recurring events reminding of this summit and police changing the way they will handle such incidents in the future.