The intense protests at the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany grew by at least one on Thursday, as New York mayor Bill de Blasio made a surprising trip from NYC to Hamburg to join the thousands protesting the meeting of world leaders including Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
The New York Times reported that the mayor apparently kept his travel plans secret and gave no notice until shortly before flying to Germany. The mayor’s office states that Mr. de Blasio will remain at the G20 summit until Sunday.
According to Bloomberg, the mayor’s press secretary, Eric Phillips, defended de Blasio’s decision.
“It’s important that American leaders confront head-on, locally and around the world, the damaging rhetoric and policy stances of the Trump Administration. The Mayor will be sharing New York and American values with an international audience that we worry only sees and hears from our President. Sharing our values and aggressively representing New Yorkers at home and abroad helps keep our city’s needs and strengths at the forefront of an important discussion.”
Phillips continued on to say that the timing of the trip was based solely around when Mr. de Blasio made his decision.
The G20 summit has drawn an enormous amount of protesters, who are rallying against what they see as human rights abuses on the parts of many of the world leaders in attendance. The Guardian reported that there is expected to be “between 50,000 and 100,000 members of anti-fascist, feminist and Kurdish groups, as well as climate activists” at a march on Sunday called “G20 Not Welcome.”
On Friday it was reported that the First Lady, Melania Trump, was unable to leave her hotel room because of violent protests outside.
Many protesters have their eyes specifically on U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, who are said to have reached an agreement concerning a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war.
Mr. de Blasio will be giving the keynote speech at a G20 protest event Saturday, “Hamburg Shows Attitude,” replacing the originally scheduled speaker. He also joined in with protesters on Thursday and is expected to be a part of events all weekend long.
The mayor has portrayed himself as an enemy of President Trump since the 2016 election, presenting both himself and the city of New York as progressive leaders to combat the policies of the Trump administration.
Mr. de Blasio has repeatedly stated that he will oppose Trump’s crackdown on illegal immigration, and despite the president pulling out of the Paris climate accords, de Blasio says that New York is committed to meeting or exceeding the agreements put in place by the Obama administration.
Mayor de Blasio has drawn sharp criticism from his opponents who feel that he is putting his own political and global concerns before the city’s, and that he seems bored by the actual job of being a mayor.
A spokesman for the mayor’s office said that the costs of the trip were being paid for by the organizers of the event.
[Featured image by Yana Pascova/Getty Images]