Thousands protest against G7 in Munich as leaders gather for summit

About 3,500 protesters have gathered in Munich as the G7 group of leading economic powers prepare to hold their annual gathering in the Bavarian Alps in Germany, which holds the rotating presidency this year.

Police said earlier that they were expecting a crowd of about 20,000, but initially fewer people showed up for the main protest, which started at midday on Saturday, the German news agency dpa reported.

Fifteen groups critical of globalisation, from Attac to the World Wildlife Fund, will participate in the demonstrations. Their various demands include a phase-out of fossil fuels, the preservation of biodiversity, social justice and greater efforts to combat hunger.

“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 Greenpeace.

Members of Oxfam posed at an earlier protest in the city wearing oversized heads of the G7 leaders and demanding more global equality. “We need concrete action to cope with multiple crises of our times,” a spokesperson, Tobias Hauschild, said. “That means the G7 have to act immediately. They have to fight hunger, inequality and poverty.”

Germany’s interior minister, Nancy Faeser, called on protesters to refrain from violence. “I expect all demonstrators to protest peacefully, not to hurt anyone and not to destroy any cars or stores,” she said.

About 18,000 police officers have been deployed around Munich and the summit site.

The leaders of the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan were expected to start arriving in Germany on Saturday afternoon to discuss issues such as Russia’s war on Ukraine, the climate crisis, energy and the looming food security crisis.

“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine is also having an impact here,” the German chancellor, Olaf Scholz, said in his video podcast on Saturday in reference to rising prices for groceries, gas and energy.

He said the G7 leaders would discuss the situation triggered by the war “and at the same time ensure that we stop manmade climate change”.

The summit will take place at Schloss Elmau from Sunday to Tuesday. Leaders of the 30 countries in the Nato alliance will gather for its annual summit in Madrid on Wednesday and Thursday.

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