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04 June 2007



Richard, the G8 has a long history of stifling protest and using police brutality to crush protesters. Do not forget that in Italy a protester was shot dead by police. You say that violence is done by the demonstrators against the police. Have you spent time with the protesters to get their point of view and see for yourself how the police operate?

It is a complex situation and journalists, closeted in the safety of the media centre are always quick to place the blame on the protesters - but is that a true portrayal of the power play going on with heavily armed police up against young unarmed protesters? Do jounralists report on the plain clothes police mixing with protesters and making actos of violence to give the demonstrators a bad name?

You are incorrect in assuming that we in Europe have permission to protest. Police permission is required and is often not given. Then protesters have to decide whether to stick to their principles and demand the right to protest or to go unheard.

It is a mistake to consider the protesters as a 'leftist' homogenous block as there are many differences in their ideologies and approaches to protest.

Since the war on terror citizen's rights in Europe have been eroded to such a point that freedom of speech is threatened and protesters have to watch out that their identity is not disclosed for fear of state reprisals. Is this really so much more liberal and open than the African countries you mention?

Are you really suggesting that to stop corruption the G8 leaders should stop all aid flows to Africa? The consequences of doing that would be dramatic indeed and I do not see how such a move would empower citizen's to question their leaders more. It would merely create an atmosphere of desperation more likely to result in conflict and revolution. Is that what you are trying to encourage?

Omar Kalinge-Nnyago

The brutal display of force by police against the Rostock G8 protesters brought a threatening reality to the fore, that globalisation is not just about Coca Cola and Unilever. But the way those in power respond to protest. The Rostock scene was not different from a scene in Uganda's Kampala or Zimbabwe's Harare.

The simple charaterisations of the protesters as leftist and "trouble causers" is also global, the police are often presented as the victims, in Rostock and in Harare.Yet, the police and the several security agencies in the West as in Africa, do infiltrate demonstrations, create trouble to make demonstrators look irresponsible. This, to deflect attention from the real issues.

I pity African politicans who still think the West is role model for freedoms and human rights.Injustice is more global than Pepsi Cola.

omar kalinge-nnyago


To the two commentors who have criticized Richard in this post (Omar and Julia):

What was interesting to read in your "comments" was that you allege that German police and security forces have infiltrated the demonstrations in order to instigate violence. Perhaps that is true, that undercover police have infiltrated the anti-G8 demonstrators at Rostock. The result of the demonstrations over the past few days? Over 1000 people injured, many seriously, including more than 400 police officers. Cost to the German taxpayers in the millions of Euros (on top of the 100 million already spent by Berlin). Cost to the mission of the G8 Summit 2007: immeasurable damage to the integrity of the event and any chance to have a peaceful atmosphere in order for world leaders to discuss issues that are important to all of us, not just "your agenda".

Now I ask you, just how stupid are we (the people of the world) supposed to be to believe that BS you're selling? What member of the lean, mean, Green Machine (German Polizei) would be so stupid to ignite a violent riot that would injure 400 members of his own ranks? The organizers of these demonstrations (Attac and anti-G8) knew there was going to be trouble no matter what they tried to do to prevent it. And there was trouble, big time. Who's next to throw concrete and beer bottles and other potentially lethal projectiles at the police, the neo-Nazis (who couldn't get a permit to riot by the way)?

The AfricaVox 2007 journalist Zihnle Mapumulo of South Africa said it best in her article today for the OpenDemocracy blog project 'Women talk to the G8'. In her June 7th post she explained clearly for readers what the anti-G8 demonstrators that she interviewed knew about the issues and problems of Africa. The answer: next to nothing. Zip! Read her article at the OpenDemocracy blog titled "Who is really listening to African women's voices?"

Good luck at the mass bonfire tonight and be careful not to burn your fingers.



Greetings to you Bre.
I don't know what people were intervied during the protests, but I myself took part in the protests this week and know many people who did as well. Most of them might not be experts when it comes to African issues - although some certainly are -, but what unites them all is their criticism aimed at the capitalist system and the so called 'democracies' around the world.
Personally I believe democracy to be an ideal. And there is no nation is this world, that can actually claim to be truly democratic.

Anyway, that was my first point.

Secondly, here are a few interesting facts:
Druing the blockades at the Eastgate to Heiligendamm just two days ago a so-called 'agent provocateur' was caught in action. He was a civil police personel wearing all black and working under cover. He, together with four others, was acting especially aggressiv towards police officers. Other protesters got suspicious and snatched his 'masked' from his face. Then protesters from Bremen recognized him and identified him to be an undercover cop.

One person cried out 'He's a cop!' and just a few seconds later he was surrounded by at least a hundred angry protesters who demanded to see his ID. The guy couldn't leave, being surrounded by all the people and other activists called a few media people to come over and film that guy.
In the meantime the dude denied working for any police force.
Two, three minutes later, a few camera teams arrived at the scene and filmed him. Just a moment later he disappeared behind a chain of riot police.
At first the police denied any knowledge regarding undercover cops at the blockade. But today the spokesperson for the police admitted, that he was an undercover cop from Bremen. But of course only to ensure peace.

Second fact: The whole reporting of 433 injured policemen/women is a farce. Ever wondered why they never interviewd any of the injured cops in hospitals or didn't even publish any pictures of them??
I also don't know the origin of this number, but it's false!
Some journalists inverstigated and found out that only two police officers were actually really injured: one lost consciousness and the other broke a bone. Why and how that happened was not mentioned. Most people during the protests were injured by the tear gas and water canons!!

I was at the protests and I can confirm, that the police really had an interest to escalate the situation various times.
Also during the blockades peaceful demonstrators were attacked, two journalists had to be hospitalised due to attacked by water canons.

These are just very few examples of how the police tries to escalate the protests. There were MANY more on a smaller scale, like walking up and down in small heavily armed groups right next to protesters during the blockades or demanding them to extinguish little fires during the cold and dark nights on the streets, which were just lit to provided some warmth and light.

The blockade was a major success and it's amazing that the huge crowd didn't let the heavily armed riot cops and constantly flying of army helicopters on a very low level right above the protesters provoke any escalation! Respect!!


Mohammed Matovu

The G8 and all the excesses that come with it--global protests, global concerns, global promises and global media razzmatazz--mean one thing; We are back into the future

omar kalinge-nnyago

Well, the G8 reunion has ended. And what has the world achieved in real terms? Promises, yet to be broken again.

I wish someone told the Africans that no body owes them a living. They should stop poisoning the minds of their children with "Africa is so poor and needs help from the Developed world".
Africa can survive with respect. And the will is there.

Soon a new breed of African leader will emerge, to tell the so called developed world "NO thank you" to the strings attached aid. Africa must accept to face up or perish.The G8 has enough problems of its own. t them no lie to themselves, and the culpable Africans running NGOs (NGOs are big business in Africa)that they can help anybody. For them, any opportunity to "AID" is an occasion to do business. There is no ethic in their philosophy that would prevent them from benefiting from others people's misfortunes.

That is why they have destroyed a whole nation, Iraq, and they will continue to, for as long as the balance sheet is in their favor. The day it stops making Dollar Sense, they will quit without their tools.

Africa should just close up and fight their battles alone. Forget the so called developed world.Even China wont help.


There always fill of promises that will never amount to anything. Qoute"I wish someone told the Africans that no body owes them a living. They should stop poisoning the minds of their children with "Africa is so poor and needs help from the Developed world".
Africa can survive with respect. And the will is there. "
There way of living is different to ours, if thats what they know, leave them alone, im sure it causes more harm with our goverments interupting and causeing trouble

Paul Smith

Merci beaucoup pour votre article.

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