THE LATEST: Beware Hot Air: Group Urges G-7 to Fight Poverty

June 7, 2015 Updated: June 7, 2015
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ELMAU, Germany— 1.30 p.m. (1130 GMT; 7.30 a.m. EDT)

Too much hot air?

Members of an anti-poverty group have sent up balloons bearing the faces of the Group of Seven’s leaders, urging them to stick to commitments to fight poverty around the world.

Adrian Lovett, a member of the group called One, said Sunday that “we want their discussions here in Schloss Elmau to be much more than hot air.” The balloons included ones of President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, among others.

Heading into the summit, Germany has said one of its goals is to get a firm commitment from the other leaders to work toward the goal of helping bring 500 million people out of hunger and malnutrition by 2030.

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12:55 p.m. (1055 GMT; 6.55 a.m. EDT)

European Union President Donald Tusk says G-7 protests are a sign of a healthy democracy.

Tusk says the Group of Seven world leaders have no need to apologize for their meeting Sunday and Monday in the Bavarian Alps. He says the gathering of industrialized democracies is “the best guarantee” that freedom and pluralism will survive.

A range of anti-capitalist and other groups have gathered to protest against the G-7 annual summit, but have been kept at a distance by thousands of German police.

Tusk, who is attending the gathering, said Sunday that in G-7 nations “people can demonstrate, can think what they want, say what they want and even look like they want.”

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12.10 p.m. (1010 GMT; 6.10 a.m. EDT)

After a hike, about 200 protesters have reached the security fence around the G-7 summit venue, the Schloss Elmau hotel in Germany’s Bavarian Alps. On the other side, about 100 police officers with dogs were patrolling the fence to keep the demonstrators out.

The crowd on Sunday was shouting slogans like “Freedom and peace, no more G-7!” and waving signs with slogans like “Politics for people, not markets.”

Along the way, there were minor scuffles with police patrolling the dirt path that led to the area, but no major incidents or arrests were reported.

The annual summit has drawn repeated protests by those who believe the leaders’ decisions favor banks and business interests over those of ordinary people. A planned trans-Atlantic free trade agreement this year is a particular concern.

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11.45 a.m. (0940 GMT, 5:40 a.m. EDT)

President Barack Obama is calling the current partnership between the U.S. and Germany “one of the strongest alliances the world has ever known.”

Obama opened his German visit Sunday by appearing in the picturesque Alpine village of Kruen with Chancellor Angela Merkel. Obama is closer to Merkel than most heads of state although their relationship was tested over the past two years following revelations that the National Security Agency had tapped her cellphone.

Obama says leaders will discuss the global economy, European Union, trade, Russian-Ukraine, violent extremism and climate change.

He told a crowd of beer-sipping locals that on these issues, world leaders are grateful for the “leadership and partnership of your chancellor.”

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11:25 a.m. (0925 GMT, 5:25 a.m. EDT)

President Barack Obama thinks he could use some leather pants.

The U.S. president has met G-7 summit host German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the village of Kruen, greeting a crowd Sunday with the words “Gruess Gott” — the form of “hello” commonly used in Bavaria.

Obama told the crowd to laughter: “I forgot to bring my lederhosen, but I’m going to see if I can buy some when I’m here.”

Lederhosen are leather shorts, sometimes with suspenders, that are a traditional Bavarian outfit for men.

Obama thanked residents for their warm reception, saying they put on the “best Alp horn performance that I’ve ever heard.”

Kruen is a few kilometers (miles) from the Schloss Elmau hotel, where the G-7 summit will begin later Sunday.

(Corrects Obama quote to “best Alp horn” from “best Alpine.”)

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11 a.m. (0900 GMT, 5 a.m. EDT)

Protesters have blocked roads as the leaders of the Group of Seven industrialized democracies arrive in the Bavarian Alps to begin a two-day summit.

Several hundred demonstrators began hiking early Sunday from the resort of Garmisch-Partenkirchen to get near the security perimeter around the Schloss Elmau hotel, the secluded summit venue 8 kilometers (5 miles) away.

Some 22,000 police from around Germany were brought in to keep the protesters away from the hotel as the delegations from the U.S., Germany, France, Britain, Canada, Japan and Italy began arriving. Journalists were flown by helicopter to the venue to avoid delays on the roads Sunday due to the protesters.

There was a short clash between protesters and police during a demonstration Saturday but it was otherwise relatively peaceful.

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This story has been corrected to show that Obama said “Alp horn performance,” not “Alpine performance.”