UPDATED ON:
WEDNESDAY, MAY 09, 2007
16:31 MECCA TIME, 13:31 GMT
 
NEWS EUROPE
German police raid G8 opponents
A 12km fence has been built ahead of the G8 summit at Heiligendamm on Germany's Baltic Coast[AFP]
Police in northern Germany have raided 40 sites linked to opponents of the G8 club of rich nations ahead of the group's summit next month, the federal prosecutor's office said.
 
Government officials said on Wednesday they were searching for 18 activists believed to belong to a far-left group that was planning violent protests against the summit.

"The suspects linked to the militant, left-wing extremist scene are accused of founding or belonging to a terrorist organisation whose aim is to disrupt or prevent the upcoming G8 world economic summit taking place in early summer 2007," a statement from the prosecutor’s office in Karlsruhe said.

Police also targeted three suspects believed to belong to a radical group known as 'mg' behind 25 attacks since 2001.

 

Visa restrictions

 

About 100,000 demonstrators are expected to gather in the area near the summit venue, a hotel in Heiligendamm on Germany's Baltic Coast, from June 6-8.

 

Authorities are building a 12km-long security fence to separate the demonstrators from the leaders attending the summit.

 

Attac, an anti-globalisation group, said the raids were "an attempt to criminalise the entire spectrum of G8 opponents."

 

Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany’s interior minister, announced that the visa-free travel policy for the Schengen region, which encompasses 13 EU member states and Norway and Iceland, would be suspended for the duration of the summit.

 

Concerns

 

Security concerns were raised last December when opponents of the summit claimed responsibility for torching the car of a German finance ministry official in Hamburg.

 

Several G8 summits in recent years have witnessed violence. An anti-capitalist protester was killed in 2001 in the Italian city of Genoa in 2001.

 

Demonstrations at recent G8 summits have been kept well away from the venue although violence has broken out in nearby towns.

 

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and the US will attend the Heiligendamm summit.

Source: Agencies
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Anti-G8 protesters clash with police  
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Protesters, police clash ahead of G8  
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