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Germany

Court Eases Restrictions for Anti-G8 Groups

Demonstrators won court permission Friday to march to within sight of a steel mesh fence around the site of next month's G8 summit at the German beach resort of Heiligendamm.

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Protestors will be allowed within 200 meters of the security fence, ruled the court

A police ban on unauthorized protests within five to 10 kilometers (about three to six miles) of the fence was ruled excessive by the administration tribunal in the city of Schwerin on Friday.

Protesters will be able to march through several country lanes but will not be allowed into the resort or closer than 200 meters (about 650 feet) to the barbed-wire-topped fence when leaders of eight main nations meet June 6-8.

Police search mail boxes

Anti-globalization groups have described a widening police probe into a spate of anti-G8 petrol bombings in Hamburg and Berlin as excessive.

The postal company, Deutsche Post, confirmed officers looked through mail from Tuesday to Thursday at a Hamburg sorting center. Police also accompanied a postman who was clearing city letter-boxes.

BdT Deutschland G8 Gipfel Heiligendamm Pappfiguren

The Green Party set up paper version of G8 leaders this week to protest the summit


"These were interceptions with judicial permission after letters claiming responsibility turned up," said branch director Detlef Kreutzer.

There have been more than a dozen night-time attacks on cars and homes with petrol bombs in recent months in Hamburg, but no arrests. No one has been injured.

On May 9, riots broke out in Hamburg after police raids on a leftist center in the city. The arson attacks have continued to damage property. Claims of responsibility sent to media have criticized both the G8 and German industry.

Criticism for crack-down

German police have faced criticism from the media for not catching any of the radicals, as well as criticism from anti-globalization activists that the hunt for a few has led to treating the whole movement as suspects.

Mainstream aid and environmentalist groups said this week that the main rally in the nearby city of Rostock before the summit would be peaceful. Monty Schädel, a coordinator in Rostock of the protests, welcomed the Schwerin court ruling, saying it was a rebuke to police.

German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble defended the restrictions, saying he had to ensure the safety of summit guests. He said riots at previous summits showed a fence was necessary.

Green Party scoffs at scent samples

Police have also collected scent samples of five leading anarchist, which Attorney General Monika Harms said had been done for "concrete reasons," as quoted by news magazine Der Spiegel.

Deutschland G8 Geruchsprobe von der Stasi

Some politicians likened the scent samples to Stasi practices in former East Germany


Germany's Green party mocked the collection of body scent samples by collecting smelly socks Friday in Berlin. It quipped that this was a "voluntary contribution" of odour samples for the police collection.

Suggestions that the police intelligence work is aimed at preventing militant demonstrations have unsettled senior Social Democrats in Chancellor Angela Merkel's coalition this week.

Peter Struck, head of the Social Democrat caucus, called Friday in a TV interview for a "sense of proportion," adding, "I sometimes think the security authorities' concerns are exaggerated."

Riots expected at EU-Asia talks

Hamburg police said they expected 5,000 leftists from much of northern and western Europe to gather in Hamburg on Monday to demonstrate at the ASEM ministerial meeting between the European Union and Asian nations. The rally was likely to be a dry run for anti-G8 protests.

The head of the riot-police section, Peter Born, said, "We expect there will be rioting. We will be strict about combating it."

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