By DANIEL NIEMANN and KIRSTEN GRIESHABER, Associated Press
MUNICH (AP) — About 4,000 protesters gathered in Munich as the major economic powers of the Group of Seven prepared on Saturday to hold their annual rally in the Bavarian Alps in Germany, which holds the rotating G-7 presidency this year. .
Organizers had hoped to mobilize up to 20,000 protesters in the Bavarian city and were disappointed by the low turnout at Munich’s Theresienwiese park, German news agency dpa reported.
Uwe Hiksch, one of the organizers of the protest, theorized that would-be participants might consider it inappropriate to challenge the world’s wealthiest democracies during Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“We have the impression that many people are disturbed by the war in Ukraine,” Hiksch told dpa.
Political cartoons about world leaders
Seven years ago, 35,000 people took part in protests when the G-7 held a summit at the same site in Bavaria.
The G-7 leaders – from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – are expected to begin arriving in Germany on Saturday afternoon. Their summit agenda includes issues such as Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change, energy and a looming food security crisis.
“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine is also having an impact here,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a video podcast on Saturday, referring to rising food, gas and energy prices.
Fifteen groups critical of globalization, from the international network Attac to the environmental organization WWF, have called on people to take part in demonstrations for the summit this weekend.
Their demands included a gradual elimination of fossil fuels, the preservation of animal and plant diversity, social justice and a stronger fight against hunger.
“My demands for the G-7 are that they make a clear commitment in favor of the energy transition, that is to say the exit from fossil fuels, from all forms of fossil fuels, by 2035 at the later, so we can stop funding wars and conflicts,” said Kilian Wolter of the environmental group Greenpeace.
Earlier on Saturday, at a separate protest calling for more global equality, members of anti-poverty organization Oxfam wore oversized heads of G-7 leaders.
“We need concrete action to address the multiple crises of our time,” Oxfam spokesman Tobias Hauschild told The Associated Press. “That means the G-7 must act immediately. They must fight against hunger, inequality and poverty.
A total of around 18,000 police are deployed around the site of the summit and the protests.
Scholz said the G-7 leaders would discuss the current situation triggered by the war in Ukraine “and at the same time ensure that we stop man-made climate change.”
The Chancellor was due to greet the leaders at Elmau station near Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday evening.
The G-7 summit itself will take place in Elmau in Bavaria from Sunday to Tuesday. Once the meeting is over, the leaders of the 30 countries of the NATO alliance will then gather for their annual summit, which will take place from Wednesday to Thursday in Madrid.
Grieshaber reported from Berlin, Philipp Jenne and Pietro De Cristofaro contributed from Munich.
Copyright 2022 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.