New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is flying Thursday night to Germany to protest the G-20 summit, the meeting of the world’s top economic powers.
De Blasio, a Democrat, is due to arrive in the host city of Hamburg as it’s embroiled in violent protests a day ahead of the two-day summit. Riot police have used pepper spray, water cannons and batons to disperse anti-capitalist marchers who threw bottles and firecrackers at officers.
The mayor plans to attend a separate, nonviolent protest Saturday that organizers say is a call to “stand up for human rights and humanity.”
In a break with tradition surrounding mayoral trips in New York City, de Blasio’s staff announced the trip late Thursday just hours before departure, leaving no time for the City Hall press corps to travel with him.
The first-term mayor is running for re-election. Critics have assailed him for his travel outside New York, including trips to Israel, Italy, England and France, saying he should focus on managing the city. De Blasio counters that global issues of inequality reverberate in municipal issues.
De Blasio’s presumptive Republican challenger, Assemb. Nicole Malliotakis of Staten Island, said in a statement: “The news that Bill de Blasio is jetting off to Germany for the G-20 is a slap in the face of New Yorkers who deserve a mayor who works for them.”
It was unclear whether de Blasio will also be attending any summit meetings.