File spoon-archives/heidegger.archive/heidegger_2001/heidegger.0107, message 87


Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 22:45:24 +0100
Subject: (fwd) eyewitness account of Genoa



Prepared for demonstrations like those in Seattle, Washington,
Okinawa, Ottawa, and elsewhere, the G8 leaders (Canada, France, Germany,
Italy, Japan, Russian Federation, United Kingdom, United States) and their
functionaries, particularly their Italian hosts, represented by Italian
President Sylvio Berlusconi, described by Le Monde Diplomatique as a
"post-fascist" (May 1998), have removed the velvet gloves of their
dog-and-pony show about "debt relief" in Genoa and laid clearly visible
the iron-fisted fascist tactics behind their rise to global power.

The provocateur tactic of infiltration of peaceful demonstrators by
members of the so-called "black bloc" and their alliance with the
Italian police indicates the preference for violence to enforce adherence
to the new global superbarons of capitalist globalization.  With every
blow struck from a police baton on peaceful demonstrators, the new
imperium loses legitimacy.  The upstart junior G8 member Berlusconi
thought he could impress his G8 breathren and superiors with tactics from
his fascist orientation, but he has only further delegitimized this
undemocratic usurpation of power and further estranged the world's
peoples from this unelected coterie of capitalist functionaries.

The eyewitness account below is instructive.

csc

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001 02:43:54 -0400
Subject: eyewitness account of genoa

july 27, 2001--dear friends, here is an eyewitness account by an italian
demonstrator in genoa.  it's from "The Progressive Review
<news-AT-prorev.com>", the Undernews column by Sam Smith.
the demonstrator has asked us to please forward his account.
there's another account by a police officer in the same newsletter.

LETTER FROM GENOA

[Following is a letter from Stefano Agnoletto, the brother of Vittorio
Agnoletto, public representative of the Genoa Social Forum]

S. AGNOLETTO: Now, I was in Genoa, I've seen it. Don't believe the
news you've seen in the press and on TV It was something insane, a
massacre. It is still difficult to tell you what happened between Friday
and Saturday. To do so, I'll use what I've seen together with my dear
friends who were present in Genoa with me . . . I arrive to Genoa on
Thursday, after an immigrant's rights demonstration of about 50,000
people. There are arrival camps, many, thousands of peaceful people, a
marvelous atmosphere (remember the Boy Scouts?), we discussed, sang
and just stayed together. Clergy, activists, volunteers and just normal
people, on Friday we begin the issue areas in a blockaded city. The
various groups participating will converge in different points of the
city to have a carnivalesque "siege" against the "red area" [The place,
in Genoa, where the G8 was held and demonstrations were not permitted]
with street theatre, dancing and slogans.

At this point, from the beach-front, members of the now infamous "Black
Bloc" [supposedly extremist groups blamed for most of the destruction
in the city] arrive. Some are seen chatting with police, others just come
out of police crowds. Most of them speak German. They start to break
everything. Police and Carabinieri [the Italian military police] just
stand there. The black bloc tries to join in with a group of COBAS
workers [COBAS is the new Italian Trade union unaffiliated with party
politics]. They beat up one of their leaders, the group manages to stay
clear of them with some difficulty. Then the Black Bloc makes head for
the first issue area, belonging to the Italian Social Centers (Centri
Sociali - difficult to translate exactly, call them community
organizations). They arrive armed to the teeth. The police goes after
them, and demonstrators find themselves attacked first by the black
bloc and then by the police, which starts to charge violently against all
demonstrators. The black bloc leaves suddenly and appears on the square
were the Lilliput network is based (Fair trade, Catholic campaign groups
etc). Its members try to peacefully make them leave. The police follows
and charges against everyone on the square. Truncheons and tear gas are
used indiscriminately. People raise their hands, shout "Peace". The
black bloc leaves the square and starts to vandalize the city
systematically. 300-400 of the Black block roam Genoa, and whoever
guides them seems to know the city very well . . . It's incredible.
They move with military discipline, infiltrate everywhere, some leaders
shout orders which are promptly followed by the whole group. And,
shortly afterwards, police and Carabinieri make their appearance . . .

People start moving towards Dante Square. Suddenly, police launch
tear-gas from behind our march, causing panic everywhere. Hospitals fill
with wounded demonstrators, but many do not go to hospital since police
seem to arrest everyone who turns up there.

It's evening, people are downbeat, many are angry. Suddenly, no trace
of the black bloc. At the old city, where the camp of the Genoa social
forum is, there's about 10,000 of us. The news of the dead demonstrator
reaches us. We are scared, tales of extreme police brutality are told by
many people. Young men, nuns start crying. Many people are hurt. One
old man is crying with a bandage on his head. He is a retired metal worker.

There is Don Gallo, of the San Benedetto community group. There is the
leader of the mothers of Plaza De Mayo, in Argentina, those women who
for years have been looking for their disappeared children. She says
she is shaken at what she has seen, it's uncomfortably close to Argentina
during the dictatorship. She did not think something similar would
happen here.

My brother Vittorio (spokesman for the Genoa Social Forum), Luca
Cesarini (leader of the Social Centers) and Bertinotti, the only
politician with the courage to come here (the leader of the Italian
refounded communist party, sort of the equivalent of Nader in Italian
politics) try to calm everyone: They tell us not to come out in small
groups, not to accept violent provocations. We decide our answer will
be the enormous demonstration the next day, there'll be many of us,
peacefully responding to any provocation, whether from the black bloc
or the police.

Senator Malabarba tells us he was at the police station. He saw strange
people who dressed like the demonstrators, they spoke German and other
foreign languages. Most of them come out of the station after exchanging
a few words with the police.

Suddenly, there is a fire at a bank close to the old city. For 40
minutes, helicopters circle us, but no firefighters or police arrive.
At night, one of the camps where we are sleeping, the Carlini, is
surrounded by police. They go in and search, doing what you want.
People cry. They ask that brutality stop. Police enters, but does not find
anything in the camp.

Saturday, the demonstration starts, a thousand colors. People from all
over the world, farmers, workers, people from Kurdistan... all singing,
dancing, waving all sorts of flags.

On Kennedy Square there is no violence, in fact there is no one there.
Suddenly the Black Bloc appears. Police, with no warning or reason
given, divides the demonstration in two parts. A real battle begins.
Charges everywhere, people being beaten with truncheons. It seems cops
have gone crazy. Metal workers, the youth wing of Rifondazione (the
Italian left wing party) are charged. Groups of demonstrators flee and
are followed by police. Whoever is isolated is pursued and beaten. Many
people are telling of being beaten only for being recognized as
demonstrators. Even the Italian correspondent of the Sunday Times is
beaten.

In a part of the march which so far was quiet, by the sea, suddenly tear
gas is fired from the roofs. Panic ensues as people cannot breathe. The
black bloc? They appear and disappear, no one stops them. They attack a
youth from Rifondazione, wreck his flag, beat him. They throw stones at
the spokesman of the Genoa Social Forum They wreck stores, set fire to
buildings. Many are armed to the teeth. How on earth they managed to
come to Genoa, with soldiers controlling every car?

At the head of the march, things are still quiet. The Genoa Social Forum
invites everyone to leave calmly, and stay together. We are being led to
Marassi, where there are buses with everyone who arrived this morning.
We stopped there, and could not go further. On Kennedy Square, there is
a war. There are many of us just sitting there. Suddenly, teargas is
used, panic everywhere. We try to get back to the camp of the Genoa
social forum. Police trucks pass us by, and policemen in them shout:
"we'll kill you all".

The second part of the demonstration never arrives to the square. They
are charged by police. Many flee to the small streets, towards the
hills, where a real man-hunt starts. Saturday night, the demonstration
has ended hours ago, the police enters into the press center of the
Genoa Social Forum. They beat up everyone they encounter, with
shocking brutality. All they seem to be after are documents (paper, video,
pictures etc.) which tell of what happened in the previous two days.
Many of these documents ,computers, disks are simply destroyed.

The lawyer who coordinates the forum's legal team is arrested. Among
the destroyed material, there are the documents this legal team put
together as part of the defense of those arrested. Now, even the motives
for their arrest are not known. During this "search," with no legal mandate,
members of parliament, journalists, lawyers and even doctors are not
let in the building . . . No one knows what happened to the Black Bloc.

To sum it up, two nightmare days. Both the black bloc and the police
knew what they were doing when they committed this violence. All along
,from Friday, they insulted and verbally abused us as they did what
they did, someone seems to have brainwashed them.

And today, we look at the TV and read papers. My god, it seems like a
dictatorship. Did everyone miss what we all saw? When I think that many
will read this and say "you violent protesters just talk bullshit," I go mad.

Please, forward, print, talk about this document. To everyone, friends,
relatives, colleagues. The truth has to come out. I beg you, don't look
the other way. Thank you

PS: My brother Vittorio (the spokesperson of the Genoa Social Forum) is
destroyed. He told me: It's crazy, it seems we are in Latin America
during the '70s. Maybe even he did not realize fully with whom are we
dealing here.




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