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As G7 leaders gather in Germany for summit, thousands of protesters slam group’s policies

Protesters take part in demonstration called for by Greenpeace, Attac and other organizations ahead of the G7 Summit at the Theresienwiese in Munich, southern Germany on June 25, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Thousands of protesters in the south German city of Munich have denounced the Group of Seven (G7)’s policies, a day ahead of a gathering of the group’s leaders for a summit in Germany.

On Saturday, around 3,500 protesters gathered in Munich after they were called for a demonstration by 15 groups critical of globalization, including Attac and the environmental organization WWF.

Protesters’ various demands included a phase-out of fossil fuels, the preservation of animal and plant diversity, social justice on the planet and a stepped-up fight against hunger.

The protest was held on the eve of the 48th G7 summit, which is scheduled to be held from June 26 to 28 in Schloss Elmau, Krün, Bavarian Alps.

The G7 leading economic powers includes France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. This year, Germany holds the group’s rotating presidency. The group - formerly known as G8 - excluded Russia after Crimea Peninsula rejoined Russia in 2014.

“My demands for the G7 are, that they have a clear commitment to energy transition, that is the exit from fossil fuels, all forms of fossil fuels, by 2035 at the latest, so we can stop financing wars and conflicts,” said Kilian Wolter from the environmental group Greenpeace who participated in the protest on Munich’s Theresienwiese lawn in the city center.

Police had earlier said they were expecting some 20,000 protesters in the Bavarian city, but initially fewer people showed up for the main protest which commenced at noon.

Earlier in the day, members of the antipoverty organization Oxfam posed at a different Munich protest wearing oversized masks depicting the G7 leaders - US President Joe Biden, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

“We need concrete action to cope with multiple crises of our times,” said Oxfam spokesman Tobias Hauschild. “That means the G7 have to act immediately. They have to fight hunger, inequality and poverty.”

A total of about 18,000 police officers are deployed around the summit site and the protests, as Germany’s top security official called on demonstrators to refrain from violence.

“I expect all demonstrators to protest peacefully, not to hurt anyone and not to destroy any cars or stores,” said Interior Minister Nancy Faeser.

The G7’s leaders, who are expected to start arriving in Germany on Saturday afternoon, are expected to tackle issues such as the war in Ukraine, climate change, energy and the looming food security crisis.

Following the conclusion of the G7 summit, leaders of the 30-member NATO will convene for their annual summit, which is scheduled to be held Wednesday through Thursday in the Spanish capital of Madrid.


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