Trump center of G20 protests over climate, economic policies

As the Group of 20 summit begins in Hamburg, Germany Thursday, protesters have gathered in objection to the policies of some world leaders, including President Donald Trump's climate and trade agenda.

Organizers created a “Welcome to Hell” event scheduled for Thursday and have promised public demonstrations throughout the summit.

Overnight, ten cars were set ablaze outside a Hamburg Porsche dealership, which police are investigating as possibly summit-related.

Many other groups are calling for peaceful protests, and are pushing the G-20 leaders for action on climate change, to address economic disparities in the world and a wide array of other issues. Some are even calling for the dissolution of the G-20 itself so that the United Nations becomes the platform for such discussions.

In addition to President Trump, protesters are also setting their sights on Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. A large sign in a shop window near the summit venue featured pictures of the three world leaders with the slogan: "We don't want that!"

Among the topics President Trump specifically has come under fire for, both from protesters and other world leaders, are his decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord last month and his “America First” policy agenda.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Trump administration’s approach toward globalization focuses on winners and losers as opposed to equal beneficiaries.

Still, Merkel has rejected calls from some to push for a strong "G-19" statement — without the U.S. — on climate change; something that Zhu Guangyao, a Chinese deputy finance minister, told reporters Thursday that Beijing also did not support.

"The policies produced by the G-20 should be by the consensus of all member states," he said. "No one should be excluded."

Still, he added, "China will firmly promote its policies taking more measures against climate change."

Activists are expressing concern, however, that the draft language being worked on for the closing G-20 communique apparently calls for a "global approach" on climate change, which they fear could weaken national responsibilities.

On trade, Putin wrote in a guest article for Germany's Handelsblatt newspaper Thursday that "politically motivated" sanctions were being used as a form of protectionism.

"Limits by one-sided, politically motivated sanctions on investment, trade and particularly technology transfer are becoming its hidden form," the Russian leader wrote.

The European Union and United States have imposed sanctions on Russia over its actions in Ukraine, and Putin wrote that such sanctions lead nowhere. He said they "contradict the G-20 principles" of working together in the interests of all countries.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.