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German minister calls for detaining ‘potentially violent’ activists before G-8 summit

(AP) BERLIN: Germany’s Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that anti-globalization activists deemed to be “potentially violent” may be detained for up to two weeks during next month’s Group of Eight summit, a German newspaper reported Friday. 

Federal prosecutors on Wednesday used anti-terrorism laws to order nationwide raids on the offices and apartments of globalization opponents on suspicion they were plotting to disrupt the June 6-8 summit with firebombings and other attacks. 

“State police laws provide so-called preventive detention measures” if there are indications that individuals are planning “potentially violent offenses,” Schaeuble was quoted as saying by Friday’s edition of the mass circulation Bild, referring to security measures that foresee pre-emptive detentions based on indications of planned criminal offenses. The permitted duration of such detentions varies from six days to two weeks. 

Yet a spokesman for Angela Merkel insisted the chancellor was not against protests being planned to take place during the summit. 

“It is in our interest that the protests will be peaceful and creative,” said Thomas Steg, a spokesman for the chancellor. “At the same time we will take legal actions against potentially violent protesters and make sure to provide security at the summit.” 

Three weeks before the summit in the northern resort town of Heiligendamm, security officials also announced tighter border controls to keep international protesters out of the country. The government said Friday, that 1,100 soldiers would be deployed to the summit to secure the air space and coastal waters and to provide medical support. More than 6,500 police officers will also be on duty. 

Violence has marred past summits, particularly in 2001 in Genoa, Italy, when police and protesters clashed in the streets for days. 

Germany’s opposition Greens, Liberals and the Left party criticized this week’s nationwide searches. 

“One can only describe these methods as police state methods,” said Jan Korte, a member of Germany’s Left Party, successor to the former East German Communists. 

“With these mass searches the interior minister has set the fuse”, he told The Associated Press. “And with his threat of preventive detentions he has pulled out the lighter too.” 

The anti-globalization network Attac expects that Wednesday’s raids would only bring activist groups closer together and mobilize them for a massive blockade of the summit. 

“Now more than ever” was the message the network received in various e-mails and phone calls from opponents of the G-8 summit, Attac member Peter Wahl told ZDF state television on Friday. 

German security officials have built a €12.5-million (US$17-million) fence around Heiligendamm, hoping to keep protesters away. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is hosting the event, and the leaders of the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Italy, Canada, and Japan are to attend.

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May 11, 2007 - Posted by | Blogroll, news, personal, politics, random, religion, Terrorism, Terrorism In The U.S., Terrorism News, Uncategorized, War-On-Terror

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