The weapons were seized from people planning violent protests—and were likely just a fraction of the weapons still out there.
“It is of special public interest to show you and the public these seized items today because I believe that those items are fairly revealing in terms of what kind of acts of violence are possible, and probably and very likely even planned,” said Hamburg Police President Ralf Martin Meyer at a press conference on July 4. “Maybe we can expect acts of violence also with other, similar items which are still in the hands of the militant scene.”
Deputy Commander of Criminal Operations for the G-20 summit Jan Hieber echoed his words, “We have to assume that we have only found a small percentage of what still lies in basements, garages and flats in and around Hamburg. And what is intended to be used as of Thursday against the police.”
The haul of weapons was varied: powerful slingshots, flares, fireworks, fire bombs, other bombs, baseball bats, clubs, and batons …. nothing needed for a simple peaceful political protest.
Included in the trove of seized items were several laptop computers.
Police said this shows that the militant protesters are connected and coordinated. These are not just dumb thugs looking for fights—these are organized groups of violent revolutionaries who go to protests deliberately looking to provoke conflict and battle with police.
The police showed a video demonstrating what the various devices could do to a police officer.
Hieber showed the effect some of the explosives could have on a police helmet—the bomb blew a fist-sized hole in the helmet.
The video showed flares igniting clothing, and showed how the wrist-rocket slingshots could propel small steel balls with lethal force.
“We are looking at the real-life use: what was the goal of the Berlin protesters here in Hamburg?” asked Hieber. “We assume that they wanted to create depots for attacks and violent riots, possibly with those weapons you see here.”
German security forces expect some 8,000 violent protesters to converge on Hamburg for the G-20 summit. About 20,000 police officers will be on duty to keep traffic moving, to protect the summit, and to protect the larger number of peaceful protesters.
The G-20 includes 19 economically advanced countries plus the European Union. The policy decisions determined at the summit affect the lives of tens of millions. It is reasonable that people would demonstrate outside the summit to express their differing views.
The majority of protesters want to peacefully present their messages.
A minority seeks violent confrontation.
The police cannot tell one group from the other—and cannot take the risk of waiting to find out.
This impinges on the rights of all protesters. It is also the only possible course until all protesters are peaceful.