(photo credit: JPOST STAFF)
Police gained the upper hand in Hamburg early on Friday morning after a day of running clashes with anti-capitalist protesters seeking to disrupt the city's G20 summit of global leaders.
Heavily armed police commandos moved in after activists had spent much of the day attempting to wrest control of the streets from more than 15,000 police, setting fires, looting and building barricades.
With meetings between leaders of the club of 20 largest global economies finished for the day, police stormed the last holdouts, who had gathered in the Schanzenviertel district, an area known for its left-wing activism and culture of squatting.
With two months to go before she seeks re-election, Chancellor Angela Merkel had hoped to cement Germany's growing global leadership role with a demonstration of its unwavering commitment to free speech, assembly and dissent by holding the summit in the center of a city with a proud radical tradition.
Protesters torched cars and lorries, smashed windows in banks, looted retail stores and hurled paving slabs and other objects before police managed to restore order. Some 197 officers were injured after two days of clashes in the port city. Police made 19 arrests and detained dozens more.
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