The agenda for the Munich summit includes Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change, energy and a looming food security crisis.
Around 4,000 protesters gathered in Munich as the group of seven (G7) leading economic powers prepared to hold their annual rally in Germany’s Bavarian Alps.
The organizers said they hoped to mobilize up to 20,000 protesters in the Bavarian city and were disappointed with the initial low turnout in Munich’s Theresienwiese park, the German news agency dpa reported.
Uwe Hiksch, one of the protest organizers, said that potential participants might find it inappropriate to challenge the world’s richest democracies during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“We have the impression that many people are worried about the war in Ukraine,” Hiksch told dpa.
About 18,000 police officers are stationed around the summit site and the protests.
Fifteen groups critical of globalization, from Attac to the World Wildlife Fund, have called on people to take part in the demonstrations. Their various demands include the phasing out of fossil fuels, the conservation of biodiversity, social justice and greater efforts to combat hunger.
“My demands for the G7 are that they have a clear commitment to energy conversion, that is, exit from fossil fuels, all kinds of fossil fuels, by 2035, so that we can stop funding wars and conflicts,” said Kilian Wolter from Greenpeace.
Members of Oxfam lined up at an earlier protest in the city wearing oversized heads of G7 leaders and demanding more global equality.
“We need concrete action to deal with more crises in our time,” said a spokesman, Tobias Hauschild. “This means that the G7 must act immediately. They must fight hunger, inequality and poverty.”
G7 leaders – from the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan – began arriving in Germany on Saturday. Their summit agenda includes topics such as Russia’s war on Ukraine, climate change, energy and a looming food security crisis.
“Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine also has an impact here,” German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in a video podcast, citing rising food, gas and energy prices.
Scholz said G7 leaders would discuss the current situation triggered by the war in Ukraine “while ensuring that we stop man-made climate change“.
The Chancellor was to welcome the leaders at the Elmau resort near Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday night.
The G7 summit itself will take place in Bavaria’s Elmau from Sunday to Tuesday. After the meeting, leaders of the 30 countries of the NATO alliance will gather for their annual summit, which will be held Wednesday through Thursday in Madrid, Spain.