L’AQUILA (AFP) - Around 5,000 anti-globalisation protesters and local residents marched Friday on the G8 summit in the quake-hit Italian town of L’Aquila.
Marchers set off from one of dozens of tented camps near the mountain town set up to house victims of the devastating April 6 earthquake, watched by a large force of police.
The protest was originally organised by local citizens’ groups to draw attention to the slow progress of reconstruction three months after the quake, which killed 299 people and left some 70,000 homeless.
However, anti-globalisation groups comprised the vast majority of the marchers, AFP photographers said, after insisting in the run-up to the summit on taking part in the peaceful protest.
Tempers were strained as the sun beat down on the marchers along the seven-kilometre route and demonstrators shouted slogans at police.
However, the march was kept well away from the “red zone” established around the summit venue by some 15,000 police and it passed off without incident.
“We are all residents of L’Aquila,” chanted demonstrators, who waved red flags of left-wing unions and political groups. Many also waved the rainbow banner of peace demonstrators.
“We came from Rome out of solidarity for the residents of L’Aquila.
The reconstruction hasn’t really started yet and for the last three months the government has been getting ready for the G8, not helping victims of the quake,” said Enrico Bernocchi, a union activist.
“When the G8 talks about a crisis, it’s about supporting the same banks who provoked the crisis, and it never does anything to help workers who bear the full brunt,” said protester Paolo Leonardi.