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Agente' France Press reports on Genoa as of 1500 GMT 2001-07-22

by wwicko
Police blitz on G8 protesters' headquarters leaves dozens injured - G8 leaders deplore Genoa riots - G8 protests dominate much of British press
The follwoing from Yahoo Asia AFP


Sunday, July 22 7:31 PM SGT
Police blitz on G8 protesters' headquarters leaves dozens injured
GENOA, Italy, July 22 (AFP) -

An overnight raid by Italian police on the headquarters of the anti-globalization movement Genoa Social Forum (GSF) left dozens of activists wounded before a Group of Eight summit ended here, witnesses and hospital officials said Sunday.

The raid on last day of the summit of world leaders began shortly after midnight and ended just before 2:00 am (0000 GMT).

G8 leaders deplored the riots that swept through Genoa, including the shooting death of a protester, in a communique issued at the end of their three-day meeting.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi fielded several questions on the violence and heavy-handed policing at the summit during the final press conference.

He said he had learned of the police raid only that morning in a phone call from his interior minister.

"He told me some arms and weapons were found, and that 60 members of the Black Block were there who were apparently hiding, and being helped by the GSF," Berlusconi said.
The Black Block is an international militant leftist group.

"Apparently, they (police) could not distinguish clearly between violent activists and members of the Global Forum," he said. "Apparently they were colluding," he added.
The GSF, one of a group of organisations who had met with Berlusconi in the run-up to the summit, had set up offices in the ground floor of the A.Diaz school. Around 50 activists protesting against the G8 meeting were staying there.

"They forced their way in and we lay down on the floor immediately," said Michael Gieser, a Belgian journalist staying in the school.

"They came in, blocked the door and kept beating us with sticks and kicking us, one after the other."

Gieser suffered facial lacerations and said he sprained an arm during the raid. He said that about 15 young police continued to club and kick people on the ground even when an officer shouted at them to stop.

Around 40 were injured in the raid, according to the GSF.

British freelance journalist Mark Covell, 33, was thrown to the ground and held by the neck while four or five police kicked him, witnesses said, adding that Covell was left lying unconscious in a pool of blood.

Witnesses said they saw police washing away blood in the street using water from bottles littering the area.

GSF chief spokesman Vittorio Agnoletto said that offices of lawyers for the movement and the independent journalists association Indymedia were ransacked during the raid.

"This reaction is like Goliath against David. It is because they fear a peaceful, non-violent movement. They hope that we will choose violence," he said.

"This is not the situation of a democratic country in the third millennium."

The Genoa Social Forum is an umbrella organization of more than 800 anti-globalization organizations including anti-AIDS groups, debt relief activists and environmentalists. They staged a non-violent demonstration Saturday that drew more than 150,000 people.
As a helicopter hovering at rooftop height lit up the street with floodlights, activists appeared shaken and horrified, calling the police action an unprovoked and brutal attack,
"If you can't speak your mind in Europe any more, where can you," said one Irish protester who declined to give her name.

"It's Latin America, it's fascism," shouted a shocked onlooker.

Police department spokesman Roberto Sgalla said "about 10" had been hurt in the raid, while other people hospitalized had been injured in the demonstrations of the previous 36 hours.

Police and ambulances took 26 injured to the San Martino hospital, said chief hospital medic Enrico Cavana.

An hour after the start of the raid there was blood on walls and floors, with windows broken, furniture smashed and personal belongings and books strewn all over.
Police spokesman Sgalla told state RAI television that iron bars, knives, blunt objects and black T-shirts had been seized.

Sgalla said the police had moved in after a "tip-off", while the GSF told AFP that at the time of the raid a meeting had been under way to prepare symbolic action later Sunday.
Members of parliament and lawyers called in to help by the GSF militants were refused access to the building.

The police were looking for film and photographs in the possession of the organizers of the anti-G8 demonstrations which degenerated into violence Friday and Saturday, resulting in one death and scores injured in clashes with security forces, the GSF said.

The raid came after two days of violent clashes between anarchists and police that left one demonstrator dead and more than 250 people injured on the fringes of anti-globalization rallies.

Philipp Stein, a German journalist from Berlin and a member of Indymedia, said he was hit when he pleaded with police to stop.

"Because police strategy completely failed during the two days, they decided to hit back hard," said Stein, referring to the earlier clashes.


Sunday, July 22 4:46 PM SGT
G8 leaders vow to make globalisation work for poor
GENOA, Italy, July 22 (AFP) -

Group of Eight leaders vowed to make globalisation work for everyone, particularly the poor, in a draft final communique Sunday.

"We are determined to make globalisation work for all our citizens and especially the world's poor," it said. "Drawing the poorest countries into the global economy is the surest way to address their fundamental aspirations."


G8 leaders deplore Genoa riots
GENOA, Italy, July 22 (AFP) -

Group of Eight leaders deplored the riots that swept through Genoa, including the shooting death of a protester, in a final communique Sunday after their three-day summit.

"We are grateful to the citizens of Genoa for their hospitality and deplore the violence, loss of life and mindless vandalism that they have had to endure," it said.


Sunday, July 22 6:58 AM SGT
G8 protests dominate much of British press
LONDON, July 21 (AFP) -

While photos of balaclava-clad youngsters fleeing police filled much of the British press Sunday, the overriding opinion on the violence marring the G8 summit was not wholly unsympathetic to the protestors' cause.

After dedicating an entire page to the diary of a journalist wishing to take part in "non-violent demonstrations", the left-wing Observer urged G8 leaders to "listen, then act".
In her account of her experiences in the embattled port of Genoa, Noreena Hertz said there had been little chance of anything but violence this weekend.

Under the headline: "Blood on the streets as guns do all the talking", she wrote: "We arrive just as the violence erupts. I came to chronicle non-violent protests but there were none.

"I see the fence and I see the bare-chested man dancing while a water cannon is fired. I see more and more pictures of police kicking and punching protesters who are not throwing anything and seemingly doing nothing."

Such scenes of global protest are a force for good, the Observer believes.
"It's all too easy to condemn the violence which has scarred the G8 summit in Genoa. A group of angry young men and women bent on violence has disrupted a meeting of elected politicians."

Its leader continued: "For G8 summits are not meetings of 'world leaders', but a tiny group of rich world leaders... and summit outcomes are all too often pathetic in relation to the challenges they face."

The Observer concluded: "We should not be shy of global protest... The challenge for progressives around the world in the twenty-first century is to exploit globalisation for beneficial aids - the promotion of democracy, comsumer ethics and human rights."
The right-wing Sunday Telegraph carried an article by a reporter just yards away from Carlo Giuliani when the young Italian was shot by police.

The journalist wrote of an "unprovoked charge" by riot police on a demonstration that had been "slowly edging" its way towards the station at Piazza Brignole, under the headline: "Chaotic, brutal and unlucky - the final moments of Carlo Giuliani".

The Independent on Sunday called for Genoa to be the last of "these overblown" summits, which are "ostentatiously grand and too provocative a symbol at a time when poeple are feeling increasingly distant from their policitical leaders."

The newspaper wrote of a "spectacular lack of subtlety" with which the G8 leaders have played into the hands of protestors --- disparate groups united only by a sense that their political leaders are out of touch.

And it suggested that in future, the leaders might communicate through other means -- such as on the phone, via computers or in less formal environments.

Although most of the British tabloids gave more coverage to the fate of Jeffrey Archer than to the G8 summit, they too all carried pictures of burning cars and charging mobs.
The Sunday People blamed "hate-filled rioters intent on vengeance" for marring the talks, while the News of the World's political editor Ian Kirby, reporting from Genoa, wrote of the "fury and hate that wrecked G8".


"We certainly foresaw that if full freedom were left to the individual for the expression of his ideas and for action, we should have to face a certain amount of extravagant exageration of our principles. I had seen it in the nihilist movement in Russia. But we trusted - and experience has proved that we were right - that social life itself, supported by a frank, open-minded criticism of opinions and actions, would be the most effective means for threshing out opinions and for divesting them of the unavoidable exaggerations. We acted, in fact, in accordance with the old saying that freedom remains still the wisest cure for freedom's temporary inconveniences."

Peter Kropotkin 1899
"Memoirs of a Revolutionist"
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