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Only 4,000 protesters show up to major G7 demonstration in Munich

Only 4,000 people came to the most important demonstration held ahead of the G7 summit on Saturday, far fewer than expected, Munich police spokesperson Andreas Franken said two hours after the event began.

Only 4,000 people came to the most important demonstration held ahead of the G7 summit on Saturday, far fewer than expected, Munich police spokesperson Andreas Franken said two hours after the event began.

Ahead of the demonstration, billed as a large-scale protest, Bavarian police said they expected at least 20,000 participants, possibly far more if the weather was good.

More may yet turn out, as often people join demonstrations in the course of the day, police said.

However, some activists were dismayed at the low turnout. “We are disappointed,” said 46-year-old Andrea, a Greenpeace activist from Hanover.

While organizations were present, it appeared that few members of the public had joined the rally, she said, adding that the weather “is not that bad.”

Rally organizer Uwe Hiksch, of Naturfreunden, agreed that attendance was “clearly below” what they had expected. However, he said that the lower turnout numbers had been clear some 10 days ago.

The demonstration was organized by 15 groups critical of globalization, including Attac and environmental campaigners WWF.

The rally is calling for a phase-out of fossil fuels, protection of animal and plant diversity, social justice and action against hunger.

The call-out says: “Climate crisis, species extinction, inequality: the G7 countries bear responsibility for the fact that the global social and ecological crises are coming to an ever more dramatic head. Put an end to it. There is another way to do justice.”

The G7 summit is being held at Elmau palace resort near the Bavarian Alpine resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, starting on Sunday.

Germany is hosting the three-day summit, to be attended by the heads of state and government of the seven leading industrialized countries.

Some 18,000 police officers are deployed around the summit. Police said no incidents worthy of note had been reported.

Meanwhile, near the venue itself, police were carrying out checks on access roads at 20 locations, to allow delivery traffic and tourists with bookings to pass but turn other vehicles away.

So far, officials had not stopped anyone they suspected of planning to make trouble, according to the spokesperson for the Bavarian police at the G7 summit, Carolin Englert.

However, close to the venue, she said detention cells in containers were ready, with capacity for about 150 people.

Meanwhile the Federal Police had made a few arrests unrelated to the summit, after setting up an independent set of checkpoints, a spokesperson said on Friday.

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