Saturday, June 02, 2007

Anti-G8 protests, and a massive boost for the German left.

Tens of thousands of people are taking part in an anti-G8 protest in Rostock, with many more arriving by bus and coach. This is the main event, but there are set to be a series of protests throughout the week, and attempts will be made to blockade the event as it takes place. However, police have already laid into the protesters, presumably as an early warning that any attempt at disruption later in the week will be dealt with equally severely. As usual, the police are blaming a faction of the protesters, and as usual, I don't believe them. Reports from protesters would be most welcome.

There is an added significance to this as far as Germany is concerned, because it turns out I was right to sense an important moment in the recent boost for the German Left Party in local elections, where they got 8.9% of the vote. the 'grand coalition' government has experienced a serious drop in support nationally, and the Left are gaining:

Germany’s ruling coalition has lost public support, according to a poll by Forsa released by Stern and RTL. 36 per cent of respondents would vote for the Christian-Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian-Social Party (CSU) in the next election to the Federal Diet, down two points since mid-May.

The Social Democratic Party (SPD) is second with 26 per cent, followed by the Left Party (Linke) with 12 per cent, the Green Party (Grune) with 11 per cent, and the Free Democratic Party (FDP) with 10 per cent.

For the Left Party to have become the third biggest party nationally is a real achivement, and a massive encouragement. No doubt it is to a large extent the result of incompetent right-wing leadership and unappealling policies by the SPD, but then that doesn't always translate into an advantage for the Left. Something is percolating there.

Update: Hossam el-Hamalawy has many video clips from the protests.