G7 leaders greeted by 4,000 eco protesters on the eve of key summit

G7 leaders touch down in Munich on the eve of a key summit to tackle Russia and cost of living crisis – and are greeted by 4,000 eco protesters

  • Leaders of the top seven industrialised nations are meeting in the Bavarian Alps
  • They are set to discuss Russia and cost of living during the three-day summit
  • But they were greeted by 4,000 eco protesters on their arrival in nearby Munich 

G7 leaders have been greeted by 4,000 eco protesters as they landed in Munich on the eve of a key summit to tackle Russia and the cost of living crisis.

World leaders will begin talks on Sunday in the Bavarian mountains where they will look to increase pressure on Russia whose actions in Ukraine have created food and energy shortages across the globe.

Leaders of the United States, Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan will spend the next three days at luxury resort Schloss Elmau, with one German official saying ‘very constructive’ discussions had already been had on a possible cap on Russian oil imports.

It comes against the background of mass protests in Munich, with 4,000 people marching in the city on Saturday calling on those leaders to take action to fight poverty, climate change and world hunger and end dependence on Russian fossil fuels.

Protesters carried banners reading ‘Stop The War Russia And USA/NATO Hands Off Ukraine’ and ‘Imperialism Starts Here’, and demanded the G7 allocate more funds for crisis prevention, civil conflict management and economic development.

US President Joe Biden waves as he steps off Air Force One on his arrival into Munich on Saturday, June 25

French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Macron walk down the steps of an airplane as they arrive on Saturday ahead of the three-day summit

The leaders who arrived in Munich were greeted by eco protesters. These activists from Oxfam wore giant heads of the world leaders, depicting (from left to right) French President Emmanuel Macron, Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, U.S. President Joe Biden, Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz

However, the main focus of those involved will be about how to deal with Russia and its ongoing invasion of Ukraine without making inflation, which has reached the highest level for 40 years in some countries, even worse.

The United States, Canada and Britain have already banned imports of Russian oil while European Union leaders have agreed an embargo that will take full effect by end-2022 as part of sanctions on the Kremlin over its invasion of Ukraine.

With energy prices soaring though, the West fears such embargoes will not actually put a dent in Russia’s war chest as the country earns more from exports even as volumes fall.

A price cap could solve that dilemma, while also avoiding further restricting oil supply and fueling inflation, officials say, but for it to work, it requires buy-in from heavy importers like India and China.

‘We are on a good path to reach an agreement,’ one German Government official told Reuters.

The official said the G7 was also discussing the need to combine ambitious climate goals with the need for some countries to explore new gas fields as Europe rushed to wean itself off Russian gas imports.

G7 leaders are set to discuss setting up a climate club to better coordinate carbon pricing and other schemes for reducing emissions. Nearly 20,000 police officers have been deployed to ensure security at the summit.

Protesters hold a banner during a demonstration in Munich on Saturday, June 25. Activists are eager for leaders to tackle climate change, income inequality and world hunger

These protesters from Greenpeace marched through Munich city centre on Saturday, calling for action on climate change

Crowds of protesters gathered the day before the annual G7 summit gets underway in the Bavarian Alps

For many of the 4,000 protesters though, further action is needed to deal with climate change and inequality. 

‘Today, we are at the G7 again because we realised that nothing has improved… it’s been going on for so long, that we are destroying ourselves,’ said Lisa Munz, a protestor wearing a hat topped with a stuffed chicken.

Saturday’s protests in sunny Munich, where the leaders’ flights landed before they headed to Elmau, were sponsored by more than 15 organizations including WWF Germany, Oxfam Deutschland, Greenpeace and Bread for the World.

Officers in riot gear shoved protesters in a brief physical confrontation and police said several officers were physically attacked and nine people detained during the day, but the demonstration remained largely peaceful overall, a Reuters witness said.

Some 3,000 officers were on duty across the city, Munich police said.

The G7 typically attracts protests by dozens of campaign groups that want to court publicity for their causes and send a message to the Western political elite.

This year, however, protesters may struggle to make their presence visible to the leaders given the especially secluded summit venue, though that could change if protesters attempt to traverse the terrain to get closer to the summit itself, as some have said they plan to do.

‘The colourful demonstration is a clear sign of how strong the desire of many people is for a fundamentally different policy in the G7 countries,’ Oxfam Deutschland said in a statement.

After the annual G7 summit, some leaders will then travel to Madrid in Spain, where there will be a NATO summit which is likely to also have Russia as its key focus.

On his arrival into Munich yesterday, US president Joe Biden was greeted by a large group of people in traditional dress, as well as Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soder. 

As he stepped off Air Force One two children, also in traditional dress, gave him a bouquet of flowers, while also signed the Golden Book of the Bavarian state government.

Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Soeder, right, and President Joe Biden talk with children Daniela Hauser and Marco Keller after they gave Biden a bouquet of flowers upon his arrival in Germany for the G7 meeting

President Biden arrived in Germany on Saturday night for the G7; he leaves on Tuesday for the NATO meeting in Madrid

Children in traditional Bavarian clothes welcomed President Biden with flowers upon his arrival in Germany

While Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine will top the list of concerns, leaders will also discuss other pressing issues such as food insecurity, economic inflation and the concern about China’s growing influence.

The G7 leaders intend to announce a ban on importing gold from Russia, according to report.

Gold is Moscow’s second largest export after energy. The United States has already banned Russian oil and Western allies have done partial bans in an effort to cut off Vladimir Putin’s money supply.

‘A large focus of the G7 and the leaders are going to be, you know, how to not only manage the challenges in the global economy as a result of Mr. Putin’s war, but how to also continue to hold Mr Putin accountable and to make sure that he is being subjected to cost and consequences for what he’s doing,’ White House spokesman John Kirby said during a briefing with reporters on Air Force One in route to Germany.

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