Hamburg G20 riots: German police look to Spain, Italy to find perpetrators | News | DW | 02.02.2018
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Hamburg G20 riots: German police look to Spain, Italy to find perpetrators

German authorities plan to forward videos and photos of suspected Hamburg G20 rioters to their counterparts in southern Europe. Damages from the street battles between protesters and police could surpass €12 million.

Authorities in Hamburg are now looking to southern Europe for clues as to who was behind mass riots that inflicted damages on the city during the G20 summit last summer.

According to Hamburg Interior Minister Andy Grote, police have reason to believe that many of the leftist militants behind the violent protests came from Italy and Spain.  

German authorities plan to seek help from their counterparts in those countries in the hopes of breaking "new ground," Grote told the Hamburger Abendblatt.  

Read more: Hamburg riot suspects raided by police across Germany

Thousands of demonstrators traveled to Hamburg last July to protest the G20 summit. Despite some 20,000 police officers deployed during the summit, groups of violent protesters rioted in the streets, looting businesses and setting fire to barricades. 

Read more: Hamburg G20 riot damages run into millions

In response, Germany set up a special task force to track down the perpetrators. The investigative body is still combing through terabytes of police footage, CCTV recordings and private videos with the help of facial recognition software and geolocation data.

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Outcry in Germany over released photos

In December, Hamburg prosecutors published dozens of photos and videos from the riots in an attempt to gather more information on the protesters. The move caused considerable debate in Germany, with leftist politicians saying the authorities were trying to fan the "hysteria." A leftist website published pictures of scores of police officers accused of brutality in retaliation.

Read more: Leftists release German police photos from Hamburg, sparking anger

Talking to Hamburger Abendblatt, interior minister Andy Grote defended the decision to release the photos of protesters and warned against "playing down" the Hamburg violence.

"Nobody should be surprised by the clear backlash from the leftist scene," he added. "For the first time in months, the rioters have a reason to be worried."

Hamburg riots caused around €12 million ($15 million) in property damages, according to a July estimate by the German Insurance Association (GDV). Destroyed vehicles alone accounted for around €4 millon of the total sum.

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dj/kms (dpa, AFP)

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