Julian Cope presents Head Heritage

From Genoa After the G8 Protests

An activist in Genoa, 26th July 2001ce

Genoa, early morning 22nd July 2001

We write from the building of GSF and Indymedia in Genoa after witnessing the worst human rights violations in the short history of the young movement against capitalist globalisation. Two people were killed by the police on the 20th, one in Genoa and one at the border, and someone else might have been killed in the most outrageous display of fascist state brutality that all of us have seen in our lives, just a few hours ago in front of this building.

This night the police broke into the school Diaz (across the road), one of the accommodation places of GSF were people were sleeping at that moment, and beat up everyone to the extent that most of the people could not walk out and had to be carried in stretchers out of the school. We don't know how many people were badly injured because we lost count of the amount of stretchers carried out of the school, but they brought about 30 ambulances for the injured people. The police also brought at least one body bag outside, maybe two, but we don't know yet whether there was a corpse inside either or both of them. Everybody was either arrested or taken to hospital.

According to the testimony of one person who could escape before being arrested, people were lying on the floor saying 'no violence' when the police broke into the first floor where he was, and they battered people so badly that one of the officers had to intervene to stop the massacre. In one of the pictures taken by Indymedia (http://italy.indymedia.org) you can see a plank of wood with nails covered with blood lying next to a corner with big patches of blood on the walls.

The police also broke violently into the GSF and Indymedia building at the same time, but here they only destroyed and stole materials. They did not attack anyone (although in part of the building it was difficult to breathe due to the tear gas). Italian parliamentarians were also struck by policemen while they were trying to enter the school Diaz while the police was beginning to remove the injured.

On the 20th and the 21st the police terrorism in the streets was unprecedented in recent Western European history. On the 20th they murdered a young protestor from Genova, who was shot once in the forehead and once in the cheek, and drove backwards over his corpse. A young french woman was killed in the Ventemiglia border on the same day, while the police was preventing her and other people from entering the country.

Police attacked and teargassed all the different groups that took part in the action. For instance, they threw tear gas from helicopters into the assembly point of the pacifist march, charged against the tutte bianche and the Network for Global Rights before they even started their actions, and injured a still unknown number of people. They deliberately mixed the different sorts of political expression, trying to create conflicts (for instance by pushing part of the black block into the pacifist assembly point).

On the 21st they massively attacked part of the demonstration for absolutely no reason, teargassing the whole area (including the parking lot that served as the GSF convergence centre and a nearby beach) and some people were forced to jump into the sea just to escape from them. Both on the 20th and the 21st there were riots all day, all over the city, which were clearly provoked by the police.

The forms of provocation were diverse: the television showed images of a group of people dressed in black going out of a police van and breaking windows. We respectfully ask our friends from the black block to reflect about the meaning of this fact, not just for them but for everybody else. This request is not meant to imply that they should not be present in large collective actions, but that we think that they should rethink their role and choices in them.

People who are taken to the hospitals are arrested immediately after receiving first aid, unless they are in an extremely bad condition. One person, a member of a nonviolent group, who was horribly beaten up while sitting on the floor with his hands up, went through that experience. In the police station he was repeatedly tortured like everyone else there. The police was hitting the already wounded areas of his body and battering him for no reason. Another person who was arrested and released says that they were beating everybody and forcing them to scream 'viva il duce', which means long live Mussolini.

The police terrorism started well before the actions. The last weeks were characterised by police searches all over Italy, followed by what everybody here considers to be a reproduction of the strategy of tension used by the Italian state in the 70s to crash social movements. Letter bombs were sent (by whom?) to policemen, the police exploded a car in the centre of Genova because it was parked in the same place for several days, and they alleged in the media that bombs had been planted in several places (including one of the accommodation spaces of the GSF) - all of these in order to create an atmosphere of paranoia, fears about demonstrators and social terror.

They also arrested several people before the actions, including a particularly brutal case of a young woman who was kept in isolation for four days for having a van (which they claimed would be used to break into the red zone) where she kept a hatchet for camping purposes. The people who were arrested with her report that they were also tortured physically and psychologically, including forced exposure to a succession of three posters: a pornographic one, followed by one of Mussolini and then one of the Nazi Army in action.

We know that many solidarity and denounciation actions have already taken place all over the world and that many more are being planned (see http://italy.indymedia.org). We encourage all the groups that have not planned actions yet to do so, and to prepare for sustained actions to
continue until those responsible for these outrageous human rights abuses pay the full price for their actions. We suggest to these groups that their minimum demand would be the resignation of the Berlusconi government.

There is a list of Italian embassies at http://www.ethoseurope.org/ethos/embassies.nsf/ (go down to the link Embassies of Italy).

We think that we need to turn this situation into a serious international problem for the Berlusconi and the other G8 governements, not just due to a basic sense of justice but also because we feel that the survival of the movement and of many of us might depend on it. This brutality shows the actual panic with which the rich and powerful are reacting to the clear fact that the world is beginning to listen to us. Seeing that they can no longer write us off as a marginal, temporary phenomenon, they are now removing all masks of ostensible democracy and showing their real face - one of oppression, violence and terrorism.

Por todos nuestros muertos, ni un minuto de silencio. Toda una vida de lucha.
To honor our dead, not a minute of silence. A whole life of struggle.