Protests at Germany's G8 summit took a spectacular turn yesterday as police launched a high-speed boat chase through the Baltic and rammed two Greenpeace inflatable speed boats which had breached a maritime security zone, pitching crew members overboard and injuring three.
Dramatic television footage of the chase shot from helicopters showed a small armada of Greenpeace inflatable boats driven by outboard motors speeding into a 10-kilometre wide security zone off the seaside resort of Heiligendamm hosting the summit, taking police patrol boats completely by surprise.
After some delay, five high-powered police vessels went in hot pursuit of the Greenpeace intruders in a chase worthy of a James Bond film. For at least 10 minutes, the police and Greenpeace played a game of seaborne cat and mouse, churning the deep green waters of the Baltic white with their spiralling boat wakes.
The chase was brought to an abrupt halt when the biggest and most powerful police vessel, a 30-foot long Swedish built "Combat boat" capable of 50 knots - rammed and swamped one of the Greenpeace inflatables and pitched all four of the boat's oilskin-clad crew into the sea. Three of the crew were injured in the ramming and had to be taken to hospital.
According to the article, the police are "exhausted and had decided to reduce security operations in areas that were non essential."
Greenpeace's success in breaching the summit's security zone marked another defeat for the 16,000 police drafted in from throughout Germany for the meeting of G8 leaders in the Baltic town of Heiligendamm. By the time world leaders had arrived at the summit on Wednesday, thousands of anti-G8 protesters had breached the security zone on the land side and managed to block all roads leading to the venue.
Frankly, those police are lucky that nobody ended up dead.