Before today’s news broke that U.S. President Donald Trump plans to meet privately with Russian President Vladimir Putin and sent the press into a feeding frenzy, the G20 summit slated for next week in Hamburg, Germany was already shaping up to be a spectacle.
With Germany as this year’s host, German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been hard at work shaping the docket of issues she wanted presented to the leaders of the world’s top 20 economic powerhouses. She called a meeting exclusively with European heads of state and government for Thursday, presumably to shore up consensus prior to the actual summit between them on how to confront the United States, and in particular Trump, over Merkel’s primary objective for the summit: climate change.
But with Trump now hijacking the media coverage away from Merkel’s planned confrontation over climate change, all bets are off as to what will really be the lasting impression over G20 2017.
If the Trump-Merkel-Putin theatrics weren’t enough entertainment, the summit is attracting more unwanted political attention through in-house shenanigans, as well as foreign interventions. Earlier this week, hundreds of German police officers on temporary assignment to provide security as part of the massive protective apparatus surrounding G20, were sent back to Berlin after pictures emerged showing them having a raucous party in their living quarters area. Many of the officers were drunk, and supposedly a female officer was seen dancing atop a table with a firearm.
A German police spokesman encouraged people to withhold judgment and remember that they are “humans under the uniform”.
There have also been reports of 12 arson attacks on German railway systems in the run-up to the summit, leading many to suspect political activists are already executing operations to disrupt G20. Police are expecting up to hundreds of thousands of protestors to be on the scene in Hamburg. A coalition of left-wing activists told Deutsche Welle that they seek to disrupt the meeting purely to aggravate world leaders. “Blockage is the only word the Trumps and Erdogans will understand, we are calling for massive acts of disobedience.”
To make things even more interesting, Germany recently shut down Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s request to hold a rally with ethnic Turks inside Germany as part of his visit to Germany. Erdogan and most of the EU leadership have been in a diplomatic row following Erdogan’s heavy handed political crack-down in his country over the past year following a failed coup. Germany also warned Turkey to not allow agents from his security detail, who famously assaulted a crowd of civilians in Washington D.C., from entering their country.
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