Police officers stand guard near the Hamburg Messe in Hamburg, Germany, on July 5, 2017. The German armed forces (Bundeswehr) have issued a warning for all soldiers stationed in Hamburg against violent attacks from protestors at the upcoming G20 summit, the newspaper Spiegel reports on Wednesday. While the police are responsible for security during the G20 summit, they will receive assistance, upon request, from the armed forces. (Xinhua/Luo Huanhuan)
BERLIN, July 5 (Xinhua) -- The German armed forces (Bundeswehr) have issued a warning for all soldiers stationed in Hamburg against violent attacks from protestors at the upcoming G20 summit, the newspaper Spiegel reports on Wednesday.
In response, a general ban on wearing of uniforms in non-duty hours was imposed and strict security measures have been enacted at barracks.
An internal security note issued by the Ministry of Defense, information obtained by German Military Counterintelligence Service (MAD) suggests that "soldiers moving around the city in their uniform during announced protests could become the target of spontaneous attacks by left-wing extremists who are willing to use violence."
Several security instructions building on the insights of the MAD have been compiled to ensure the safety of military personnel, including an order to appear in the wider urban agglomeration of Hamburg as civilians when off duty between July 5 and 9.
Uniforms are only to be worn during official deployments.
The German armed forces believe that protests surrounding the G20 summit on July 7 and 8 will become a "focal point" for the potentially violent-scene of European left-wing extremists.
The protests, some of which have already clashed with police since the past weekend, are directed against the "G20 as representatives of the capitalist system which they oppose."
The security note warned that the mobilization of individuals and groups towards this end had occurred in Germany and throughout Europe "with great intensity" ahead of the summit.
Aside from warnings for individual personnel, German defense authorities are also concerned about the security of military bases used as accommodation for staff. These were exposed to "a heightened risk of blockade attempts and spontaneous demonstrations," the paper quoted by Spiegel read. As a result, all military vehicles are to be parked in specially-secured areas.
The German armed forces' assessment highlights the existence of "extensive plans aimed at disturbing the summit, blocking access roads and logistically significant intersections, as well as attacking municipal and harbor infrastructure."
Military circles expect up to 10,000 potentially violent protestors to arrive in Hamburg from all over Europe. Anti-capitalist groups from Greece, Spain and Italy are seen as a threat in particular, due to their experience of clashes with their domestic governments, which has offered them years of training in tactics including building improvised weapons like Molotov-cocktails and engaging in looting.
While the police are responsible for security during the G20 summit, they will receive assistance, upon request, from the armed forces.
There are also concrete contingency plans for emergencies, such as chemical or biological attacks, which would lead to the deployment of military experts.
Large numbers of paramedics are on call throughout the summit and the German air-force will continuously monitor air space above Hamburg with a squad of fighter jets ready for action.
The security note includes a specific plan for July 7 to rescue heads of states in boats should there be an attack on the concert at the river-facing Elbphilharmonie concert house scheduled for the evening.
A further concern raised by the Ministry of Defense is the use of drones by protestors to interfere with scheduled events. Police experts are still assessing means of how to respond to this threat, details of which remain confidential.