Berlin (AFP) - Germany has reimposed land border controls ahead of a G7 summit next month where it expects large counter-protests, and tightened road, rail and air travel checks, police said Tuesday.
Berlin has partially lifted the Schengen no-visa pact with its neighbours until mid-June, police said, hoping to prevent violent protests like those that marred a European Central Bank meeting in Frankfurt in March.
Thousands of activists are expected to rally against the summit of the Group of Seven leading industrialised democracies which Chancellor Angela Merkel will host at the Elmau Castle resort in the Bavarian Alps on June 7-8.
Temporary police booths have been set up at land crossings, especially with Austria, to allow for stepped up checks of cars, buses and pedestrians, said the federal police chief for Munich, Hubert Steiger.
Trains would also be more frequently controlled by police, who would be on the look-out for potentially radical protesters from elsewhere in Europe, Steiger said.
The opposition Greens party criticised the tight security measures. One of its leaders, Simone Peters, said the three-decade-old Schengen system had aimed to create "space for freedom".
In all, Germany will deploy some 15,000 police to guard the meeting of the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States at the secluded venue.
The federal police said it would deploy 30 helicopters, including up to eight that are fitted with thermal cameras that can detect body heat to spot protesters trying to approach the summit venue through forest cover.
The nearby city of Garmisch-Partenkirchen has meanwhile banned a local landowner from renting out his farmland as a site for a "Stop G7 Elmau" protest camp, citing the risk of flash floods that could be caused by sudden rains.
A spokeswoman for the "Stop G7 Elmau" coalition, Ingrid Scherf, said Sunday that protesters would march in a string of rallies and stage acts of civil disobedience against the G7.
On its website the movement accuses the G7 of driving "neo-liberal economic policies, war and militarisation, exploitation, poverty and hunger, environmental degradation" and shutting borders to refugees.