When Walden Bello, a sociology professor from the University of the Philippines, spoke at the opening rally, he warned that at previous protests the question of the Iraq war and a possible attack on Iran had been underestimated or ignored. The translation was not too good, but when he said something like: “We must bring the war right into this meeting,” it was clear to all who heard him that he meant a discussion of the Iraq war and was not calling for violence at Heiligendamm. A news agency twisted the meaning, undoubtedly maliciously, and the media trumpeted this alleged “call for violence” to the world.
by Victor Grossman (mrzine)
Vacationers visiting Baltic Sea beaches in the area have always loved the little small-gauge railroad affectionately called Mollie. But during the G-8 summit of presidents and premiers, Mollie was strictly reserved for those directly connected with the conference in the swank hotel at the beach. To all others it was definitely a No Go Zone. Or was supposed to be.But on June 5 a large group of protesters defied the restrictions. Opponents of globalization, warners about atmospheric warming, supporters of the poor people of the world against the leaders of the wealthy countries outflanked police cordons and marched through fields of rye to block off the Mollie tracks for as long as they were able. Like those blocking nearby roads, they were committed to action, but to peaceful, non-violent action. Or at least most of them were.
For months, but especially for the last four or five weeks, most German media had been beating the terrorist drums, warning about the violent youngsters from across Europe who were out for trouble, and why they must be stopped. Houses were searched, computers and other equipment seized, arrests were made, and there had been an endless series of changes on where and when demonstrations were to be permitted or forbidden, especially near the miles of high fencing topped with barbed-wire surrounding the conference site and larded with state-of-the-art electronic warning systems. The changes continued up to the last moment and beyond, resulting in great confusion, near hysteria in the media, a somewhat smaller turnout than expected (80,000 showed up in the end), but a resolute decision by most protest participants to keep cool heads and not be provoked.