They got it back for their protest camp, this meadow in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, right on the Loisach. You can see lush greenery and many barns. The master mason Bernhard Raubal has leased his 6,800 square meters again for a few days to the opponents of the upcoming G7 summit in Elmau. That was also the case at the meeting of the heads of state and government of the seven largest economic nations in 2015. In an interview, Raubal later praised the demonstrators for cleaning everything up “spic and span”.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is 18 kilometers from the Schloss Elmau conference hotel, to which Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) invited his colleagues from June 26th to 28th. Certainly also because the G7 summit went so well there seven years ago. Elmau and the magnificent Bavarian Alps provide beautiful images, they fit the cliché.

Unforgotten is the visit of Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel with the then US President Barack Obama in a beer garden setting. And the isolated posh hotel in the mountains can be well protected, only a small road leads up, around it there are only hiking trails. Not like at the 2017 G20 summit in Hamburg, when thousands of rioters and violent criminals ravaged the city center and raged. Incidentally, the mayor of Hamburg at the time was Olaf Scholz.

The G7 spectacle is both a distinction and an impertinence for the region. The police are checking the border with Austria, and a 16-kilometer security fence has already been erected around Elmau Castle. Access is only granted with accreditation. The gullies are sealed all the way to Garmisch-Partenkirchen so that no explosives are deposited in them or demonstrators climb out of them.

If the weather is good, the summit participants fly directly from Munich Airport by helicopter to their own landing pad at Schloss Elmau. If the weather is bad, they will be escorted on the Autobahn. A total of 18,000 officers from Bavaria, other federal states and the federal police are deployed. A “mobile justice center” has been set up at the well-known ski jump – 25 public prosecutors and four to seven judges are to judge suspected criminals on the spot. There are 50 detention cells in the containers. At the last summit there were a total of 42 provisional arrests, and in seven cases people were held in longer custody.

The first major operation came on Wednesday night, after eight police cars were probably destroyed by intentional arson. The vehicles belonged to emergency services who are staying in a hotel for the G7 summit in Munich. More than 20 patrol cars and police helicopters were still in action that night to find the suspected arsonists. But this was unsuccessful.

The officials estimated the damage in the six-digit range. Nobody got hurt. Only the day before, dangerous manipulations of power distribution boxes had become known within the security area around the conference venue. In addition, secret police documents from the 2015 summit had become public.

Nevertheless, according to the assessments, the protest should be more modest than in 2015 or even 2017 in Hamburg. Already on Saturday several thousand demonstrators are expected on Munich’s Theresienwiese, who are committed to climate and nature conservation, global social justice and the fight against hunger. On Sunday, around 1,000 people will demonstrate in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. It is estimated that around 750 people will spend the night in the protest camp for several days.

The opponents have planned two bicycle demos for Monday, as well as hikes lasting several hours around the conference venue. There was a long back-and-forth with the district office about the extent to which protests may also be made directly at Elmau Castle. Opponents spoke of an “incredible curtailment of our freedom of assembly”. It has now been decided that 50 demonstrators will be driven in police buses in front of the conference venue so that they can protest “within earshot”.