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‘Welcome to Hell’ anti-G20 protests begin

Riot police use water cannon during the “Welcome to Hell” rally against the G20 summit in Hamburg, northern Germany on July 6, 2017. Leaders of the world’s top economies will gather from July 7 to 8, 2017 in Germany for likely the stormiest G20 summit in years, with disagreements ranging from wars to climate change and global trade. AFP PHOTO

Hamburg, Germany | AFP | Several thousand demonstrators vowing to “Smash G20!” marched Thursday with Hamburg police bracing for possible violence from a hardcore of several hundred hard-left activists.

Police put the number of participants at some 8,000 at the beginning of the procession that was due to head towards and encircle the venue for the Group of 20 summit starting Friday.

A banner at the head read “Smash G20!” and “Welcome to Hell”, the organisers’ main slogan.

The hard-left “black bloc” included several hundred people dressed in black and carrying a huge black balloon.

Up to 100,000 demonstrators are expected before and during the two-day Group of 20 meeting bringing US President Donald Trump, Russia’s Vladimir Putin, China’s Xi Jinping and other leaders to the city.

Germany’s second city, hosting its largest-ever international meeting, has deployed some 20,000 police, equipped with riot gear, armoured vehicles, helicopters and surveillance drones.

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