November 25th 2007 Genoa

- THINK GLOBAL ACT LOCAL - Proposal of international mobilitization of solidarity with the accused of the genoese g8
- Demonstrators Show Support for 25 Charged in 2001 Protests
- SupportoLegale: Why we say no to a parliamentary inquiry and yes to a mass solidarity demo
- microreport from genoa six years after
- Uli Schmetzer: GENOA G8: Neither forgotten nor forgiven.

THINK GLOBAL ACT LOCAL - Proposal of international mobilitization of solidarity with the accused of the genoese g8

With the approach of the verdict for the 25 comrades of the g8 trial, the desire to rise to the highest level the forms of solidarity and fight has grown.

The genoese lawsuit is linked to those of Milan and Turin for the use of the offence of “devastation and looting”, which provides ultra-high penalties (8 to 15 years), applied to the expression of dissent and political clash.

The judgement on appeal to the events of March 11th has seen the creation of his first former judicial (6 years, discounted to 4, for the abbraviated rite, for 15 of anti-fascists defendants) projecting a threatening shadow on the imminent outcome of the g8 process.

Saturday November 17th represents an important appointment. The hope is that this is only the first step, which many other initiatives will follow, in a virtuous mechanism in view of the day of judgment. The attempt - to be made the most coordinated way possible by everyone - could be to call a simultaneous mobilization day, December 8th, in many Italian and foreign cities with protests in symbolic places (Law Courts, prisons, embassies, consulates...).
Bild: Genua

G8 has been an international issue and, if in 2001, already, the Italian police had shown the political choices made in the management of dissent, which culminated with Carlo's murder, today the judiciary follows in his footsteps with the request of exorbitant condemnations for the demonstrators: the real heads scapegoats, who, according to the hypothesis of the Prosecutor, should "pay for all" with very heavy penalties, up to 16 years in prison. To pay in an exemplary way so that it is an effective warning to all those who, in the future, will they dare to rebel.
On the other side, the two trials for the security forces, for the police massacre at Diaz and tortures at Bolzaneto, are still in the process of hearings and the judgment of first instance will not be issued before the next year.
Verdict that, however it will end, for almost the entire contested crimes, will be just formal, since the prescription will shortly cancel everything.
In Italy the days of July 2001 have represented a watershed in the management of public order and dissent: the police shooting at demonstrators; Carlo Giuliani's murder; the tanks running at a crazy speed against people; “the mexican butchery” at Diaz; tortures at Bolzaneto; indiscriminate beatings of defenceless people; the devastation even of ambulances by the security forces. All of these happened while AN's Honourables, Ascierto and Fini, were visiting the operating centre of the security forces.
A crucial step towards acceptance of security policies and political repression which, in these 6 years, have changed our cities and attacked the movements through the use of the preventive detention and crimes as “devastation and looting” or subversive association.
The potential international nature of the initiative is given by the fact that the whole anti-fascist and anti-capitalist movement is under charge, movement which, from Seattle on, comes out and sets against the meetings, the last one in Germany, the next one in Japan, and in the 2009 in Italy.
The repression has been deployed even for the mobilization in Rostock, with arrests and trials currently under process. Every situation, national or international, could join with reference to the local context.
Therefore the call is to find a common date for mobilizations, everyone in its own territory, to express the greatest solidarity and complicity with the 25 comrades to the bar.
Never free as long as the last will be slave!



Demonstrators Show Support for 25 Charged in 2001 Protests

People gathered in Genoa on Saturday, Nov. 17, to show solidarity with the 25 people currently on trial for devastation and sacking following the G8 protests in Genoa in 2001 and who face up to 225 years in prison.

According to the organizers between 50,000 to 70,000 people took part in the demonstrations in Genoa on Saturday, though the Italian authorities state between 30,000 to 35,000 people participated.

Matteo Jade is a member of the organizing committee for the demonstrations in Genoa. Carlo Bachschmidt is from the Genoa Legal Forum and is an admin consultant to the lawyers representing the 25 on trial. Both were at the protests on Saturday.
Bild: 17.11.2007 Genua

DW-WORLD.DE: Can you describe the situation there in Genoa today?

Matteo Jade: I don't want to be presumptuous, but it is really a fantastic situation here in Genoa today. When I left my house this morning there was an uncertain feeling in the air because both the authorities and most of the mainstream media had been saying for the past week that today was likely to be a protest full of incidents and violence ... and that it would have been a risky situation.

Despite this, from early this morning the areas where the protest would take place were cleared of rubbish bins and cars, thanks to the work of the local council.

A demonstrator hurls stones at police in downtown Genoa, Italy, Friday, July 20, 2001Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Genoa police were much less conspicuous in comparison with 2001

At this moment there is a river of people, of which many are locals from Genoa, and the best thing is that there are no banners or slogans representing one particular group or political party. There's just color and people and there is just one banner that marks the beginning of our march that reads "We are History."

It's a miracle that once again, as occurred during the G8 summit here in 2001, we have been able to recreate that sensation of togetherness between all the different factions within this movement. Again, the same people as were here in 2001 have reunited simply to say that we stand by the 25 currently on trial. Those 25 risk two centuries in prison and pay the price for all of us here again today."

Has there been a large police presence?

Of course the police are here, but they have been discreet. The arrangement with the police was that they would not be so visible -- not because they shouldn't be but because the situation doesn't merit it. For example, there's no helicopter flying above the protest and this for us is important from a psychological point of view because usually when these types of protests take place there are two or three helicopters that fly over head and do nothing but create a feeling of unease for us protestors.

The protest was delayed in Rostock, Germany, after a stand-off between police and protestors over whether the protestors could hide from being filmed by police. Did a similar situation occur in Genoa?

Fortunately we [the organizers] were very clear on this issue with both the city of Genoa and with the Italian Interior Ministry. The only problem has been that the trains have been arriving very late because the authorities have slowed down the arrival of people in order to reduce congestion at Genoa station. The last train arrived at 4 p.m., but the march is so long that people are still able to join it despite these delays.”

Why is it important to remember what happened during the G8 protests in Genoa in 2001?

It's important because in this moment there's people such as the magistrates and an entire system that wants to forget what really happened in Genoa in 2001 and re-write history by saying that the G8 protestors were a violent group that set the city on fire. For the first time in history in Italy the charge of devastation and sacking has been brought against a group of protestors. This is an absurd charge. In our opinion the real criminals are those who opened fire and killed.

Police watch as protesters block the roads around Heiligendamm, Germany, Wednesday, June 6, 2007. Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Protesters at June's G8 summit in Heiligendamm Heiligendamm also spanned the political spectrum

This is a protest against all of those people in politics, the media and the lawyers who want to re-write history saying that the July 2, 2001 was the day when a violent group of people destroyed the city. In reality it was a grand moment for Italy because it was one of the biggest protests this country has seen in the post World War II era and it was the first time different groups, from nuns to anarchists, came together to protest against the G8.

I think that it is really those in the G8 who cause the real devastation in the world. For this reason it's so important to be here in Genoa today because it is the only way we can try to stop them from re-writing history and to remind everyone that we are still here.

How important is it to have a protest happening in Rostock, northern Germany, at the same time?

It's really important because it's necessary for this movement to re-group and to continue to protest. It also gives this protest a European-wide feeling. Furthermore, Rostock is where the last G8 summit was held and today it's important to show the G8 that there are hundreds of people who think that there’s another way to do things and that another type of world is possible.

Why did you decide to take part in the protest?

Carlo Bachschmidt: It's an obligation for all of us who have been working for the past six years on the legal team for these 25 people on trial, and it's important that people know what really happened during the G8 protests, not only in the courtroom but on the streets.

During the trials of these 25 people charged with devastation and sacking, the prosecutors in Genoa have asked for penalties that amount to 225 years in prison. These are very serious charges in Italy. These charges are being defended not only because they effect 25 people, who did not necessarily cause damage during those two days but were there in the square during the protests, but because should a similar situation happen again then this same charge could easily be applied. This would greatly impose on the right to public protest in Italy.


SupportoLegale: Why we say no to a parliamentary inquiry and yes to a mass solidarity demo

Supportolegale has been dealing with Genoa G8 court cases for 4 years now, as a collective made up of people who have been protagonists, together with thousands of other people, of those events that made Genoa e crucial node of our lives and histories. The november 17th demo was born first and foremost out of the generic call to mobilization on the Genoa courtcases we published as Supportolegale on 2 Itlaian left-wing newspapers - Liberazione and Il Manifesto - few weeks before the demo. Supportolegale chose to promote and participate in the organization of the demo in order to keep the event focused on the defence of the 25 protestors who are being used as scapegoat of those days of our collective history. What is happening in these years in the Courts of Genoa - and Cosenza - aims at terrorizing the most spontaneous and decentralized forms of social and political organizing. This is why we called out the demo using the refrain: "We are history". We think it's a task of the protagonists of those days themselves to rebuild the truth and complexity of what happened: only the 300.000 people who took to the streets in Genoa and elsewhere can explain and tell what they felt, what they went through, what they manage to live, without the need for moralist or legalist drifts.

They are the only one who can be interested into understanding what happened as deeply as possible, without the need to judge or to excuse. This is the reason we don't agree and never did, as other promoters of the demo do, on the institution of a parliamentary inquiry where people running and managing power will be able to make their truth official. We don't need official truths, less than ever official pre-boxed truths. And this is the reason why a parliamentary inquiry is not one of the main element of the november 17th demo.

microreport from genoa six years after

it was a supermassive demo (at least 50,000 people) with the genoa generation – that of tute bianche, indymedia, black and pink blocs - opening in front and assalti frontali blasting the right kind of politically rhymed speech from the first truck. It was 20,000 youth that spearheaded the demo, almost silent in their boiling anger, with, because of the choice made by supporto legale and global project organizing the demo, no symbols and no flags, save a handful of nodalmolin, pirate, anarcho/red, guevarist, zapatista symbols. The parties, associations and mainstream unions were relegated to the smaller half in the back.

The numbers and thrust of the demonostration were constituted by the body politic of centri sociali, who reacted with promptness and rage to the public prosecution asking for hundreds of years of prison for protesters. They called for everybody subversive to hop on the rebel trains from milan, turin, venice, rome, naples and plenty other cities and towns (it was tough for little or no money getting on the trains at the stations heavily presided by police and carabinieri; thousands got there that the demo had just started, because trenitalia manipulated by the minister of the interior refused customary discounts for demos and delayed trains).

We demanded with all the forces of our bodies and minds to free the 25 under trial from all ridiculous charges brought against them (ten years of prison per person + zillions of euros for having tarnished the image of spaghettiland abroad, no joke) as if the italian state hadn’t committed murder, butchery, torture during those fateful two days in the third week of july 2001 in the port city, then under medieval self-siege to protect the g8 from radical democracy, today open to demonstrators, especially in its popular and ethnic neighborhoods by the waterfront (the manifestation ended in the city’s navel, piazza de ferrari, where a big stage was built across the square from a garibaldi statue donning a red-cloth poncho because of the celebrations surrounding the bicentenary of his birth, this somewhat incongruous scene was unfolding under a skyscraper topped by a megapixel screen advertising the genoa aquarius and the genoa soccer club).

The cops kept at safety distance and were invisible during the whole thing, also considering that week a poliziotto had aimed and shot at a soccer supporter, a popular dj in sections of rome especially with traditionally fascist lazio hooligans, while he was resting in his car at a gas station, sparking assaults on police stations in rome, street turbulence in milano and stadium break-ins in bergamo. but you know that as well as the state-decreed intolerance of roma people aka gypsies (postfascist fini who commanded the police forces in genoa called for ethnic cleansing even went beyond, saying they’re as people incompatible with italy), what you may not know is that aldo bianzino, a cool 44-year-old man arrested for cultivating pot plants, was beaten to death while in custody in perugia last month.

The parliamentary left and its media allies tried to manipulate its message saying the demo was in favor of some hazy parliamentary committee that the head of the newlyborn and american-inspired democratic party already said it should investigate “the violence of demonstators and of the police”: precisely in that order, that is. The genoa generation doesn’t care one second about such lofty baloney, it only cares for our people to be freed from judicial persecution.

Yesterday it was the noglobal generation back in force as we hadn’t seen since 2003-2004, asking for justice and loudly declaring that it wont’ allow its history be put under trial, its ranks replenished by riotous teens and rebellious earlytwentysomethings who couldn’t have been in genoa and suffered at tolemaide, diaz, bolzaneto.

ciao noglobal,



Uli Schmetzer: GENOA G8: Neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Tens of thousands of Italians traveled to Genoa in November to remind their government and the world that the atrocities committed against anti-G8 protesters six years ago are neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Their demonstration followed the astonishing decision by the Italian judiciary to toss the criminal code (including an old fascist law) at the arrested ‘trouble makers’ now awaiting trial while exonerating or promoting senior police officers in charge of riot police units that were shown on films brutally beating unarmed protesters, men and women.

This bizarre twist of justice is not unusual today as neo-liberal capitalism (the marriage between government and corporatism) frequently resorts to fascist methods to beat up protesters demonstrating against the neo-liberal credo of ‘globalization’ which is basically the privatization of all our natural and intellectual resources, our social services, public land, education and communication.
Anti-globalization activists protest against the results of a doctrine that was spawned and perfected by the soc-called Chicago Boys, the disciples of the late Milton Friedman. This doctrine of total private enterprise has concentrated global wealth in the hands of a few leaving the great multitude of people marginalized and deprived of rights gained in the labor and political struggles during the era of the welfare state.
Conscious of the potential revolt by this impoverished and disenfranchised multitude neo-liberal capitalism tries to stifle protest through exemplary and excessive punishment, invasive surveillance and the fear of terrorism, a terrorism fomented by the system’s own ‘anti-terrorist wars.’ All of these ‘wars’ have proved to be profitable corporate ventures.
A good example is Italy which resurrected a law introduced by the fascists nearly eighty years ago (Article 419 of the Penal Code) and never applied in post-war years because it was originally designed against foreign troops. Under this law the twenty-five people arrested in Genoa in 2001 are charged with “devastation and pillage,” a crime that carries up to sixteen years in jail.
The prosecution also demands a combined fine of 2.6 million euro as compensation -- not for structural damage to Genoa but the damage to “the image of the city.”
These harsh charges may seem preposterous but are intended to intimidate similar protests against the club of the rich countries, embodied in the G8 summit meetings which many experts consider no more then amiable get-togethers among world leaders to remove obstacles in the way of profit-making schemes by their corporate friends and financiers.
(Italy is also nervous because it will host the G8 summit next year, this time on the less accessible island of Sardinia.)
No doubt the forgiveness for police transgressions or excesses has virtually signaled official approval for the return of the kind of ‘hit-squad’ tactics employed by fascism to eliminate opposition.
During the Rostock G8 in Germany this year police and political spokespersons issued false figures claiming ‘a thousand’ were injured in clashes (when in fact only 24 were admitted and released from the local hospital) so creating a media outrage against the protesters that could have justified the tough reaction of German security forces who, however, did not resort to excesses.
In Italy the police chief in charge of G8 security in 2001 has since been promoted.
Here are some of the facts about Genoa that prompted the November protest march, a symbolic gesture ‘to remember’ the outrages six years ago:
At the Diaz school sleeping demonstrators, journalists and health workers were beaten up so badly by invading riot police the night after the demonstrations that 62 of the 93 sleepers were badly injured and 21 of them, all soaked in blood, had to be carried out on stretchers.
One investigating magistrate confessed at a subsequent inquiry the police planted Molotov cocktails in the school to justify their brutality and that he saw blood clots splattered on the school floor which he thought (wrongly) to be a German woman’s brain. Other witnesses said walls and floors were covered in puddles of blood.
For the last six years Italian authorities have played a cat-and-mouse game refusing to divulge the chain of command that sent police truncheon-charging into crowds of peaceful demonstrators during the march of 300,000 anti-G8 protesters on July 20, 2001.
The police assaults beat many protesters bloody but left untouched the so-called Black Block of protesters, the violent youths burning and wrecking shops and cars.
Demonstrators have given evidence they saw Black Block members walking through police cordons unhindered, indicating some of the trouble makers may have been agents provocateurs creating on purpose the climate of violence that would justify the forces of law and order to launch their vicious retaliation.
Other evidence pointed to the presence in Genoa of an unusual large number of legislators from the neo-fascist Alleanza Nacionale (AN) party including their leader Gianfranco Fini who was Italy’s Vice-Premier at that time because his party was a member of the former coalition government headed by media tycoon Silvio Berlusconi.
The rise and prominence of the neo-fascists since 2001 has been one of the most startling phenomena in Italy a country that changed sides during World War II but has never managed to sanitize itself of the fascist legacy of Benito Mussolini.
Today hardly a talk-show is aired on which the neo-fascist party is not represented, usually with the kind of shouting and crude reactionary rhetoric so chilling in pre-World War II documentaries.
The reaction of Italian dailies to the beatings at the Diaz school in 2001 was equally weird: The consensus was that the school had sheltered ‘international terrorists.’
One of those presumed ‘terrorists’ was Suna Gol, a Turkish political refugee and journalist. She had been granted asylum in Switzerland and came to the G8 demos where she slept in the Diaz School. She was brutally beaten and later identified by the dailies as ‘a dangerous Turkish terrorist.’
Today she still suffers from a bad leg as the result of the beatings. Her story recalls episodes from the famous film ‘Julia” starring Vanessa Redgrave and Jane Fonda, a passionate story of the Nazi era in Germany.
Suna Gol told the media: “The police broke into the school and started to beat us up. They broke the jaw of a girl sleeping next to me on the stairway. They broke the nose and the mouth of a man called Benjamin and another youth they beat unconscious. They beat up Lena after kicking her down the stairs. As a result her lungs have been permanently damaged and she had to be operated.
“They took me by the hair and pulled me along the floor kicking me and beating me with their fists. They smashed my head (against the wall) and I had seven stitches in hospital. I couldn’t move. When I was carried out of the Diaz school I left behind a battle field, everywhere blood and crying.
“People were being carried away in ambulances, half conscious and the police still beat them. The hospital was under guard and only on the second day was I allowed to go to the bathroom. Later they told me I was allowed to wash myself because a parliamentarian had arrived.
“From the hospital I was taken to Bolzaneto Barracks where a policeman raised his hand and cried: ‘Heil Hitler.
“We were kicked and beaten there again. We were forced to stand with our hands against the wall for hours. We women were called everything. One girl was ordered to strip in front of the policemen. When we asked to call our family, or lawyers or embassies they just laughed in our face. I was put in an isolation cell. I asked for the ring they had taken from me but they said they couldn’t find it. Many had their cash and jewelry taken from them. On the 25th (of July, 2001) there was a trial. I was allowed to leave. They told me I would be sent to Turkey even though I had a Swiss document saying I could not be send to Turkey. Luckily my lawyer was able to block the extradition. I was told I could not enter Italy for five years.”
Though the police chiefs have been promoted or transferred some 46 police officers identified as among those who systematically smashed sleeping protesters have yet to be found guilty or innocent. Their ‘show’ trial keeps being postponed and interrupted by technicalities. The six-year delay has prompted a joke that the verdicts might come in “posthumously.”
Earlier this year police had claimed 59 of the foreigners arrested and allegedly beaten up had signed waivers for assistance from their embassies, had waived the right to a phone call and to medical assistance - a preposterous claim.
An investigation has since found out the 59 forms had been signed by police themselves or by prisoners who claimed they signed under the threat of more beatings.
During the G8 protests Carlo Giuliani, a student protester, was shot dead by a Carabiniere, a member of Italy’s paramilitary police. The shooter faced an inquiry which found he fired in self defense because the young student had lifted a fire extinguisher and threatened to throw it at the jeep in which the shooter, armed with a pistol, had been riding shotgun at the back.
The inquiry into the death of the student also heard evidence from a police radio tape during which a policewoman cried: “I hope the lot die. Anyway one is already gone.”
Another police officer is heard boasting of ‘heads burst open by truncheon blows.’
On November 17 this year fifty thousand people marched to protest against these unsolved cases of police violence. The crowd marched peacefully through a Genoa, wisely deserted this time by police security forces.
And there were no violent incidents as the crowd and their banners demanded justice and a parliamentary inquiry into episodes more consistent with the ugly face of fascism than a democratic society.
But both Italy’s former center-right and current center-left governments have repeatedly rejected these perennial calls for a parliamentary inquiry - perhaps fearing more embarrassing revelations.