Source AP ©

German police issue ban on protests against G-8 summit

German police have issued a ban on protests outside a fence built to seal off the venue for next month's Group of Eight summit.

Police in the Baltic Sea port of Rostock on Tuesday night issued an order banning public gatherings and protests within 200 meters (yards) of the fence around the nearby resort of Heiligendamm between May 30 and June 8.

The ban, aimed at preventing activists from blockading the summit or storming the fence, also applies to a few other areas, such as Rostock's airport.

The EUR12.5 million (US$17 million) fence around Heiligendamm is central to authorities' hopes of keeping protesters well away from the June 6-8 gathering of leaders of the world's leading industrial countries, hosted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The 2.5 meter (8 foot)-tall fence of metal and concrete surrounds the sea resort.

Last week, officials cracked down on anti-globalization activists they fear could resort to firebombings and other violence during the summit, searching offices and seizing computers under anti-terrorism laws. They also announced plans to tighten border controls.

Activists denounced the new protest ban as anti-democratic. The Infogruppe umbrella organization said it planned to appeal against the order at a local administrative court, and said it was prepared to pursue the case to federal courts.

However, a top security official defended the police decision.

"We as hosts have the obligation to do everything to protect our guests," August Hanning, a deputy interior minister, said on ARD television.

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