The G7 summit at Schloss Elmau was to be accompanied by thunderous demonstrations in Munich. But the day before it’s pretty quiet there. Only a few have found the way – far fewer than announced.

According to the police, the protests against the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau began on Saturday in Munich with around 3,500 participants. A rally on the Theresienwiese was peaceful, there have been no incidents so far, said a police spokesman. The number of participants initially fell short of expectations; Up to 20,000 participants were registered by the organizers.

An alliance of numerous organizations had called for the mass rally on the Theresienwiese and for a subsequent demonstration through downtown Munich. Participants carried flags with inscriptions such as “Stop fossils – save the climate”. Against the background of the war in Ukraine, a speaker from the environmental organization Greenpeace said, “while the war keeps us in suspense, the climate crisis is getting worse and worse. If you want peace, you have to get out of fossil fuels.”

The critics of the G7 summit beginning on Sunday at Schloss Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen are calling for a quick end to dependence on oil, gas and coal as a consequence of Russia’s war against Ukraine. They also demand a consistent fight against the climate crisis and species extinction as well as more action against hunger, poverty and inequality. The sponsors of the protest alliance include the WWF, Greenpeace, Attac, Campact and Bread for the World.

Large police presence due to announced demos in Munich

The protests in Munich are the start of a whole series of rallies and demonstrations accompanying the G7 summit at Schloss Elmau from Sunday to Tuesday. Germany is the regular host of the meeting of heads of state and government. Among others, US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron are expected at Schloss Elmau.

The protective measures for international guests are correspondingly high. One day before the meeting at Schloss Elmau near Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the Bavarian police checked the access roads at 20 points. “It’s about filtering the cross-regional through traffic so that the traffic here keeps running,” said the spokeswoman for the Bavarian police at the G7 summit, Carolin Englert, on Saturday.

Delivery traffic, tourists with bookings in the area or visitors with private destinations are likely to pass – but other vehicles could be turned back. There are many emergency services on the road, so national traffic should be diverted.

No disruptors, no arrests and quiet traffic

So far, the Bavarian police have not pulled out suspected disruptors of the planned demonstrations, said Englert. “So far we have not been able to identify anyone who we would classify as violent.” Accordingly, there is still a lot of space in the so-called prisoner collection point in town. There, detention cells for around 150 people are set up in containers.

The federal police, which has set up its own checkpoints at the borders, reported some arrests from there, including for drug offenses or in connection with smuggling, but without G7 reference, as a spokesman said on Friday.

Traffic was quiet in front of Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Friday afternoon. The streets were less busy than usual on weekends with good weather, when the area is overrun by a veritable wave of excursions.

Locals greeted the officers as they drove past – many of the police officers have been in town for weeks. Children brought Spezi to the officers – and got sweets in return. At first he was afraid, says a nine-year-old. Now he has a new dream job: a police officer.