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Globalization

German Police Stretched Ahead of G8

German police admitted last week they would be stretched to the limit next month, when both an extreme-right party and leftists demonstrate against the G8 summit on the same day.

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Will police be faced with more than they can handle at the G8 summit?

Both rallies will be held on the Saturday before the June 6-8 summit of the G8 on Germany's Baltic coast.

Amid claims by leftists that police were being too heavy-handed on protests, a spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel meanwhile said she was committed to demonstrators' rights.

"The right to demonstrate peacefully is a major asset that is obviously nurtured by the government," her spokesman, Ulrich Wilhelm, said in Berlin.

Italien G8 Gipfel in Genua 2001 Polizei und Demonstranten

Left-wing radicals on their own can prove a handful

Police fear clashes between the left and right in Schwerin, capital of the state of Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania, where the far-right Nationalist Democratic Party (NPD) has obtained a licence to demonstrate against the summit.

Between 3,000 and 4,000 police are being gathered to keep the peace, since three separate groups on the left plan to voice their disapproval of the 2,000 NPD militants, city police chief Ulrich
Tauchel said.

On the same day, police will be guarding a demonstration against the G8 attended by up to 100,000 leftists and trade unionists in the port city of Rostock, the state's only other major city. Organizers
say the Rostock event will be peaceful.

Careful eye on Heiligendamm

Tauchel said the poor, mainly rural state would borrow riot police from other states.

Neonazi-Aufmarsch in Halberstadt

A clash between left and right would stretch police

He said there were no reliable figures on the likely size of the crowd in Schwerin opposed to the NDP, since some Rostock-bound demonstrators might divert to the Schwerin event, which had been advertised by leaflet in much of Europe.

The counter-demonstrations were organized by the Anti-Fascist Union, the Schwerin Civic Alliance Against the Right and the local branch of the Social Democratic Party.

During the summit itself, state police aim to field 16,000 personnel, most loaned by other states, to ensure that no demonstrators invade the summit's seaside venue at Heiligendamm.

The far right disapproves of free trade and US influence. The left is concerned that G8 policies will lead to a globalized economy with reduced social welfare.

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