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Only 4,000 people came to the most important demonstration held ahead of the G7 summit on Saturday, far fewer than expected, Munich police spokesperson Andreas Franken said.
Ahead of the demonstration in Munich, billed as a large-scale protest, Bavarian police said they expected at least 20,000 participants, possibly far more if the weather was good.
Some activists were dismayed at the low turnout. “We are disappointed,” said 46-year-old Andrea, a Greenpeace activist from Hanover.
While organizations were present, it appeared that few members of the public had joined the rally, she said, adding that the weather “is not that bad.” Rally organizer Uwe Hiksch, of Naturfreunden, agreed that attendance was “clearly below” what they had expected. However, he said that the lower turnout numbers had been anticipated even some 10 days ago.
Hiksch said he had “the impression that quite a lot of people are unsettled by the war in Ukraine” and so decided to stay away.
The demonstration was organized by 15 groups critical of globalization, including Attac and environmental campaigners WWF.
The rally called for a phase-out of fossil fuels, protection of animal and plant diversity, social justice and action against hunger.
The call-out says: “Climate crisis, species extinction, inequality: the G7 countries bear responsibility for the fact that the global social and ecological crises are coming to an ever more dramatic head. Put an end to it. There is another way to do justice.” The G7 summit is being held at Elmau palace resort near the Bavarian Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, starting on Sunday.
Germany is hosting the three-day summit, to be attended by the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrialized countries.
Some 18,000 police officers are deployed around the summit. Police reported minor scuffles between activists and officers after one demonstrator was taken into custody.
Near the summit venue itself, police were carrying out checks on access roads at 20 locations, to allow delivery traffic and tourists with bookings to pass but turn other vehicles away.
So far, officials had not stopped anyone they suspected of planning to make trouble, according to the spokesperson for the Bavarian police at the G7 summit, Carolin Englert.
However, close to the venue, she said detention cells in containers were ready, with capacity for about 150 people.
Meanwhile the Federal Police had made a few arrests unrelated to the summit, after setting up an independent set of checkpoints, a spokesperson said on Friday.
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