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Scores of police injured in violent protests ahead of Trump-Putin showdown at G20

The G20 summit is being hosted in the German city of Hamburg.

Source: RT/YouTube

DEMONSTRATIONS TURNED VIOLENT last night ahead of a tricky first G20 summit for US President Donald Trump, as German police clashed with a hard core of masked anti-capitalist activists hurling bottles and stones.

What should have been a peaceful march by around 12,000 people in Hamburg protesting against globalisation was halted as police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse around 1,000 far-left militants.

Seventy-six police officers were injured, a spokesman for Hamburg’s police told AFP.

“Police are still being attacked,” he said.

Officers called with loudspeakers on protestors to remove their masks but this was ignored and after more objects were thrown, authorities decided to separate them from the other protestors, police said on Twitter.

“Unfortunately it has come to the first clashes. We are implementing corresponding measures,” read another tweet.

Protesters were seen scrambling to leave the scene, while others defiantly stood in the way of water cannon trucks as they moved in surrounded by riot police with helmets and batons.

Police tweeted a photo of a car in flames and said shop windows were smashed.

The main “Welcome to Hell” march was then called off but thousands of people remained as night fell and demonstrators engaged in smaller skirmishes in the back streets of Germany’s second city, AFP correspondents said.

Up to 100,000 demonstrators are expected before and during the two-day Group of 20 meeting involving Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping of China.

Trump-Putin

The protests come ahead of the first face-to-face meeting between Trump and Putin at the summit.

On the eve of the meeting, Trump set the tone yesterday with a strong attack against Moscow for its “destabilising” actions.

The property tycoon and the ex-KGB agent’s first meeting promises to be dissected frame by frame, with their handshake and body language to be scrutinised for any sign of rapprochement or estrangement.

Germany G20 Russian President Vladimir Putin steps off a plane upon arrival in Hamburg. Source: Alexander Zemlianichenko/PA Images

“While Trump’s pro-wrestling approach is showy, bombastic and impulsive, Putin thrives on judo’s discipline and mental toughness, where a core technique is to keep an opponent off-balance and exploit his weakness,” noted Derek Chollet from think-tank German Marshall Fund.

How these contrasting styles of machismo interact… will likely be the defining feature of their relationship moving forward.

Trump had alarmed Western partners wary of a resurgent Moscow with his refrain on the campaign trail pledging to have a “great relationship with Putin and Russia”.

But amid accusations that Moscow had a hand in propelling him to the White House, Trump finds himself in a tight spot over his complex relationship with the Russian leader.

The Kremlin said the meeting was crucial for regional security and stability, with Putin saying earlier this year that US-Russia ties appeared to have deteriorated under Trump.

The blockbuster bilateral comes on the sidelines of what is expected to be the most fraught G20 summit in years in the German city of Hamburg.

Trump’s “America First” and climate sceptic stance are set to test the relationship with longstanding allies, while North Korea adds more volatility to global security.

Fly on the wall

When Trump and Putin sit down for their afternoon meeting, they will not be short of crucial issues to discuss, including the wars in Syria and Ukraine, North Korea’s nuclear programme and efforts to combat terrorism.

A White House source confirmed to AFP that Trump will only be joined in the meeting by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and a translator, an extraordinarily small cast list that raised concerns among experts.

© – AFP 2017

Read: Cars for beef: Japan and the EU have signed a ‘huge’ trade deal but not everyone’s happy >

Read: German police use water cannon on G20 protestors >

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