Merkel stands by Hamburg G20 despite violent protests

Berlin (AFP) –


German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday she stood by her decision to hold a G20 summit in Hamburg even after it was marred by street protests that turned violent.

"Things happened that were unacceptable. I don't shirk my responsibility," Merkel told ARD public television.

The chancellor sought to defuse a political row over the gathering, when anarchist mobs battled riot police, torched cars and looted shops even as world leaders talked trade and climate and enjoyed a Beethoven concert.

Local lawmakers from her centre-right Christian Democratic Union have blamed Hamburg mayor Olaf Scholz for failing to organise sufficient police protection.

And others have attacked Merkel herself for her choice of Germany's second city as the venue.

"The federal government was the host," Merkel said. "It was clear that it had to take place in a big city, and I was pleased that Olaf Scholz agreed... I've made it clear to the Hamburg CDU that I think they're wrong" to criticise him.

Away from the shocking television pictures of burning barricades, Merkel said she had been "happy" with the results of the talks among heads of government.