Caked in gray paint and walking in a slow, jangling manner reminiscent of zombies, hundreds of people in Hamburg, Germany, protested controversial world leaders, like United States President Donald Trump, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan in a demonstration titled, "G20: Welcome to Hell."
"The goal of our performance today is to move the people in their hearts, to give them the motivation to get politically engaged again," one of the demonstration organizers, Catalina Lopez, told Reuters TV as reported by Newsweek. "We want to create an image, because we believe in the power of images...we want to motivate people to take part. To free themselves from their crusted shells, to take part in the political process."
USA Today reports that people from 85 cities across Europe participated in the performance was titled "1,000 Gestalten (1,000 Figures).". In zombie-inspired costumes, they limped and marched through Hamburg to finally congregate in a central square. The participants then began to dance, the gray covering their bodies falling apart to reveal colorful clothing or their naked bodies underneath.
The G20 summit originated as a chance for world leaders to meet and discuss international policies and, naturally, its gatherings have hosted their fair share of controversial characters.
However, the world hasn't seen a leader of such power and instability like Trump in a long time, and Putin and Erdogan have long been viewed as authoritarian dictators by their critics. Having them all together under one roof is a jarring reminder of the state of the world, and a chance for people to make their stance on their policies very clear.
The zombie demonstration was an eerie, yet quiet protest, but not all protests against G20 will necessarily be peaceful. Police have readied themselves for violence over the next week, particularly during the summit itself on Friday and Saturday. During a rally on Tuesday, law enforcement used pepper spray and water cannons to get a crowd of thousands under control.
Hamburg has become a microcosm of the global tensions of the moment and a city to watch carefully. If Lopez and her fellow zombies have achieved their goal, people will be angry enough to emerge from their apathetic hibernation and come alive.