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 reporters. "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."
The performance was titled "1,000 Gestalten (1,000 Figures)" and was made up of people from 85 cities across Europe. In zombie-inspired costumes, they marched through Hamburg into a central square. Once gathered, the participants began to dance and shook off the gray to reveal colorful clothing or their naked bodies underneath.
The G20 summit was conceived as a chance for world leaders to meet and discuss policies that will promote international financial stability and economic growth, and naturally its gatherings have hosted their fair share of controversial world leaders.
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 are bracing themselves for violence over the next week, particularly during the summit itself on Friday and Saturday, and they have introduced brutal security measures. During a protest on Tuesday, law enforcement turned pepper spray and water cannons on thousands of protesters to get the crowd under control. They've also cracked down on protest camps across the city in attempts to prepare.
Hamburg has become a microcosm of the global tensions of the moment and a city to watch carefully. People have something to say, and they're angry enough to be loud about it. If Lopez and her fellow zombies have achieved their goal, people will be angry enough to come alive.