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Five young men from Germany, France convicted for Hamburg G20 riots

  • July 11, 2020

Five men were convicted by a Hamburg district court on Friday for their actions during widespread protests and rioting during the 2017 G20 summit in the northern German city. 

The 18-month trial was brought to a close after the young men pleaded not guilty and were hoping for a full acquittal.

A 24-year-old from France was found guilty of serious trespassing in the act of inciting arson, inflicting dangerous bodily harm and assaulting law enforcement officers. He was sentenced to three years.

Read more: Opinion: G20 — go back to the roots

The other four defendants were all from the German state of Hesse. The most serious case among them involved a 26-year-old who was given a 17-month sentence on probation. A 24-year-old got a suspended prison sentence of 15 months. The other two, both aged 20, have to perform community service for breaching the peace.

The prosecutor had demanded much stiffer punishments, calling for prison sentences for all five defendants.

Read more: German police launch Europe-wide search for G20 riot suspects

The G20 protests

The four young men from Germany and the defendant from France were among roughly 220 people who set fire to cars and buildings on Hamburg’s Elbchaussee street, while also smashing several windows and smearing houses with paint.

Violence erupted over three nights in July 2017, with dozens of buildings damaged, stores looted and vehicles set on fire. Around 200 police officers were injured in skirmishes with groups of demonstrators who roamed the streets dressed in dark clothing and wearing face masks to obscure their identities.

Read more: Should Germany bring back compulsory military service?

Authorities estimated that damage worth €12 million ($13.5 million) was caused. The mass-protests involved an estimated 6,000 people. More than 400 people were arrested over the course of the three nights.

A special task force combed through terabytes of police footage, CCTV recordings and private videos with the help of facial recognition software and geolocation data to track down perpetrators.

jsi/mm (AFP, dpa)

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