Some eight thousand persons braved the fickle wet weather to gather at the Hamburg Rathaus on Sunday, 4 June for the opening protest march of the G20 week. Organized by several political parties and non-governmental organizations such as Greenpeace, Oxfam and World Wildlife Fund, its purpose was to lay out a series of demands for G20 heads of state, chief among them: 1) Protecting the environment by adhering to the limits set by the Paris Accord and ending the production of coal entirely; 2) Making treaties and rules for trade that benefit all; and 3) Enacting measures to close the ever widening gap the separates the very rich from the poor all around the world. The loudest applause however was reserved for those who vowed to stand up to the isolationist, anti-immigrant tendencies and the climate change deniers emanating from our own country.

Although this event was not organized by Democrats Abroad, several of us were pleased to take part in solidarity with issues that concern Democrats the world over. At least for the space of a few hours, that hopeless feeling disappeared in the company of so many different people, from all walks of life, melded together under a sea of wildly colorful banners, waves of floating slogans. Then the scores of demonstrating boats paddling down the Alster appeared, along with the sun, and the marchers moved forward with their message—Planet Earth first!

article by Maryann Schmunk, picture by Eric Shambroom