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Germany

Globalization Opponents Gear Up in the 11th Hour

The mood is tense in the camps set up by anti-G8 activists near Heiligendamm. Many blame police for recent violence. Deutsche Welle visited the demonstrators' camp as they continue their campaign, seemingly at any cost.

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Thousands of demonstrators have camped out around Heiligendamm

"Training starts today at 12:00 at the information center."

The announcement was on Monday made in both German and English to the globalization opponents at the encampment located 10 kilometers (about 6 miles) south of the resort hotel where world leaders are scheduled to meet on Wednesday.

In this case, "training" means preparing the demonstrators for blockades that are intended to massively disrupt the Group of Eight summit.

G8 Heiligendamm Impressionen Info Point

Meet here for blockade training


Ready to break the law

"It's about active resistance," said activist Alex Kristow from press group Kempinski. "We've always said that it's necessary to break the law in some situations in order to make people aware of major problems like neo-liberal globalization.

"It's not enough to march through the streets carrying a sign," continued Kristow. "We claim the right to block a street so that delegations who want to go to this summit can't get through."

After demonstrations turned into violent riots in Rostock on Saturday, many of the demonstrators expect police to raid the camps in order to weed out potentially violent activists before the summit begins.

Preparing for police raid

"We believe that the police are trying to reduce the number of participants in coming protests by storming the camp and arresting the offenders from the last demonstrations," said Marius Kürten, who traveled to the event from Speyer in south-western Germany. "We're going to mobilize the entire camp against the police."

At the entrance to the camp, a banner has been raised with a message to the police: "You're on call -- we're having fun."

G8 Heiligendamm Impressionen

Peace?


The relaxing music in the camp belies the tense mood.

The stretch of tents -- roughly the size of three soccer fields -- is seen as occupied territory off-limits to security forces. Police have parked their buses and set up headquarters some distance away, at the intersection leading to the camp entrance.

Peaceful protestors harbor extremists

"We've seen that they've set up barricades so that the press and police can't drive through," said Gabi Baumgart, a manager at a window company whose office borders the encampment.

"The people here earlier were really great, they were really nice and peaceful," continued Baumgart. "But we just had a directors meeting upstairs and could see that five people went into the bush to practice with their slingshots. There are also a few people there looking for a hide-out, which the other people in the camp don't want."

Nevertheless, they don't seem to want to distance themselves from the violent activists. Many blame the police for the skirmishes last weekend, though the violence cost the demonstrators much of the sympathy they had had from parts of the general population.

Alex Kristow called Saturday's demonstration "powerful, colorful and strong," but added that "it was also setback in that it became clear that the police and state officials will use any means to de-legitimize this movement."

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