Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Genoa G8 Aftermath Stories

Expand Messages
  • Clore Daniel C
    News for Anarchists & Activists: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/smygo AUG 13, 2001 Despite Reports of Brutality, Genoese Support Their Police By MELINDA
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 13, 2001
      News for Anarchists & Activists:

      AUG 13, 2001

      Despite Reports of Brutality, Genoese Support Their Police

      By MELINDA HENNEBERGER, The New York Times

      GENOA, Italy, Aug. 12 — An elderly priest unlocking the door
      of his church on the square where a young protester was shot
      dead by police officers three weeks ago summed up what seems
      to be the prevailing feeling of the Genoese in the aftermath
      of the recent summit meeting here.

      "Time passes," he said.

      "There was tumult, and violence is always terrible. People
      are certainly upset these protesters came and burned
      hundreds of cars and broke windows. But you could say in a
      way it went well — there was only one person killed."

      The priest, the Rev. Giovanni Timossi, pastor of Our Lady of
      Salvation church on Piazza Gaetano Alimonda, rushed into the
      street after that one person, Carlo Giuliani, 23, was shot.
      He wanted to give the young man last rites but was held back
      by security officials.

      Still, like the overwhelming majority of people interviewed
      here this weekend, Father Timossi made clear that he felt
      more sympathy for the police than for the protesters —
      despite widespread reports of brutality against
      demonstrators during the meetings July 20 to 22 of the eight
      major industrial nations.

      "For two days, the police were attacked, offended, pelted
      with stones," he said. Finally, "frustrated and depressed,
      they did what they had to do."

      In front of the church, there is a makeshift shrine for Mr.
      Giuliani: a pile of floral bouquets, mostly dead now,
      alongside poems, news clippings, pictures of Bob Marley and
      Che Guevara. Several young backpackers were looking these
      over this afternoon, along with a local man, Pietro
      Giammona, 42. His 4 1/2-year-old daughter, Francesca, was
      there with him, drawing a picture on which her father had
      written, "To Carlo, from Francesca."

      "We should leave a sign here, otherwise it will all be
      forgotten," Mr. Giammona said. He said he had not thought
      much about economic or industrial globalization one way or
      the other before the meeting, but had joined the protests in
      anger over what he saw as police overreaction. "Some people
      care," he said.

      A number of protesters are still in jail, including Susanna
      Thomas of New Jersey, a student at Bryn Mawr. Her case is to
      be reviewed Monday at a court hearing where she is to appear
      with 3 other Americans and 16 Austrians, part of a group
      that performs street theater as protest.

      The Genoa police chief has acknowledged that excessive force
      was used in some cases, and three top officers have been
      removed. The worst reports came out of a local preschool,
      where a number of apparently nonviolent protesters had been
      staying. In the middle of the night, 92 demonstrators
      sleeping at the school were dragged from their beds, beaten
      and taken to jail.

      "They were definitely on a punitive mission here," Luca
      Cerbo, 38, said in front of the preschool. Mr. Cerbo blamed
      the center-right government of Prime Minister Silvio
      Berlusconi, which was elected this spring: "We wanted this
      government, and now we got it."

      A parliamentary inquiry into the protests and the violence
      and at least half a dozen criminal investigations are under
      way. But many here say they do not need official reports.

      Fabrizio Margiotta, 37, who runs a newsstand on Piazza
      Verdi, said he only faults the police for not intervening
      sooner. "This was real, true guerrilla warfare," he said.

      Franco Guazzini, 52, who watched looting from his window,
      said: "I can't believe it's the police who are on trial. I
      love Genoa, and suffered a lot to see it so beautiful, all
      dressed up and ready to welcome our important guests, and
      then to hear everyone in the world speaking of Genoa in this
      terrible way."

      Though an estimated $20 million in damage was done,
      surprisingly few traces remain: some graffiti, a few broken
      windows. The ancient port itself looks almost like a movie
      set, with new wooden benches, freshly potted plants and
      bright facades painted onto old buildings.

      Some tourists said they had come specifically to see how the
      city had come through the riots. "In fact, it's much more
      beautiful now" than before Italy spent $100 million sprucing
      up Genoa for the summit meeting, said Linetta Passalacqua of
      Parma, who was sitting with her grown son near the fountains
      in front of Palazzo Ducale, where the meetings was held.

      Roberto Atzei, who lives on Corso Torino, where the worst of
      the rioting occurred, said most of his neighbors had already
      begun to put the unpleasantness behind them. "The Genoese
      are strong and not easily moved," said Mr. Atzei, who works
      in a hospital pharmacy.

      Even Piazza Tommaseo, where businesses were heavily damaged,
      is mostly clean today, though still marked with graffiti in
      English declaring "Vegan Power" and "Disorder Is a Must!"

      A man who owns a sandwich shop there said he saw the summit
      meeting as a disaster for small-business owners like
      himself. He boarded up his store and stayed away. But "all
      the other windows on the piazza were smashed," he said.
      "People are really upset because the police had orders not
      to do anything, and by the time they were allowed to
      advance, the damage was done." He too feels terrible for the

      At a police station around the corner, an officer at the
      front desk said he and his colleagues had not really known
      what to do when a crowd of protesters marched on the
      building, throwing rocks and a Molotov cocktail.

      "Even if there were excesses, and probably there were, it's
      the police who are suffering now," said the 40- year-old
      officer, who would not give his name.

      When protesters appeared outside the station, "At first we
      just got out of the way," he said, smiling a little
      sheepishly. "Then we put on helmets and bulletproof vests
      and stood outside. They were throwing stones this big!" he
      said, holding his hands to indicate rocks the size of salad

      "These weren't peaceful demonstrations, or even
      demonstrations against globalization," the officer said. "I
      myself have strong feelings that third world debt should be
      forgiven — but these protesters didn't solve anything by
      ruining what some other people had worked a lifetime to
      build. How does attacking a market address globalization?"

      He described many of those arrested as spoiled children of
      the bourgeoisie. When they were arrested, he said, they
      cried, " `My father is such-and-such, a respected person,'
      then we'd find gas masks in their backpacks."

      Then the officer picked up a newspaper on his desk and
      pointed to an article with the headline "Unjustified
      Violence." "Every paper is full of this!" he said, and
      pointed again, this time at a picture of an officer kicking
      a protester in the head. Two days earlier, he said, that
      officer had himself been attacked.

      "I don't justify anything violent that happened," the
      officer went on, "but if the media showed everything that
      happened here, people would have a different view — the view
      people here in Genoa have."

      Monday, August 13, 2001

      Delay in hearing for Bryn Mawr student held in Italy

      By Alessandra Rizzo

      GENOA, Italy - A Genoa court began hearings today on whether
      to continue detaining 19 people arrested in connection with
      violence at last month's Group of Eight summit. The judges
      refused to immediately consider the cases of six others,
      including a Bryn Mawr student, citing technicalities.

      Among those whose cases were not heard was Susanna Thomas,
      21, a Bryn Mawr student from Warren, N.J., who was
      arrested in July with an Austrian theater group.

      Thomas' lawyer, Gilberto Pagani, said the judges refused to
      consider the case because too many lawyers were listed as
      representing her. Under Italian law, defendants are allowed
      two lawyers; court papers apparently list three for Thomas.

      Pagani said the problem was resolved and he would resubmit a
      motion seeking Thomas' release tomorrow, and ask for a
      decision within five days.

      Thomas and 18 members of the Austrian political street
      theater company Publix Theater she had been traveling with
      were arrested July 22 after leaving Genoa in a caravan of

      Police alleged that the Publix Theater group had conspired
      with the violent anarchists known as Black Bloc - who were
      considered mainly responsible for the riots -- before and
      during the summit. They could be sentenced to up to 15 years
      in prison.

      Police seized jackknives, black clothes, cell phones and
      flagpoles in their vehicles.

      The actors maintain that the items were used in their street
      performances. Thomas' parents have said their daughter, a
      member of the pacifist Christian Quakers, would never take
      part in violent protests and was in Genoa researching
      nonviolent social activism.

      Thomas and nine other women from the theater group have been
      detained in Voghera, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) north of
      Genoa. The cases of two other Americans, a Swede, an
      Australian and two people from Slovakia were also in
      detention and their cases were to have come up today.

      While Thomas' motion to be released on bail was not
      considered today, she did appear in court. Wearing a pink
      T-shirt and khaki pants, Thomas answered prosecutors'
      questions as part of a larger investigation, Pagani said.

      "Her spirits are not the happiest," Pagani said. "She's been
      in jail for 20 days. It's already difficult for us Italians
      to understand what's going on. For a foreigner it's even
      more so," he said.

      Thomas herself made no comment to reporters as she left the
      closed hearing. She was not handcuffed, but was escorted by
      two policemen.

      About 50 people gathered in front of the courthouse to
      protest the arrests.

      A statement handed out by representatives of the Genoa
      Social Forum, an anti-globalization umbrella group, said
      that the Austrian street performers' arrest was "a symbol
      and a clear example of the arbitrary violence which occurred
      to all of us" during the July 20-22 G-8 summit.

      Italian authorities have upheld the arrests of 10 people so
      far - a group of Germans suspected of being members of the
      Black Bloc.

      Another man, an Italian believed to have distributed batons
      and other arms to violent protesters during the riots, was
      arrested Wednesday.

      About 300 people, the vast majority non-Italians, were
      arrested during the Genoa riots, the most violent since the
      anti-globalization movement surfaced in Seattle in 1999. One
      protester was shot dead and over 200 people were injured.


      Who Killed Carlo Giuliani?

      The Progressive Populist

      Who killed Carlo Giuliani? In one sense, a death in Genoa
      was predictable, practically predicted by Silvio Berlusconi,
      the new Italian prime minister, who boasted of the military
      hardware to be deployed against protesters. In an
      environment of militarized repression, armed paramilitary
      squads, and good evidence of government-backed provocateurs
      inciting violence, death was nearly inevitable.

      The G-8, representing the world's most powerful
      industrialized nations, met to mouth pretty words about
      poverty in the third world, even as their policies backing
      multinational corporations and denying medicine to the third
      world have murdered millions yearly. So what was one more

      Progressive observers rightly have debated the actions Carlo
      may have taken that led to his death, but in an environment
      of repression which had systematically violated legitimate
      means of protest, anger in the streets incited by government
      provocateurs was a recipe for tragedy.

      The reality of Genoa was that you had a scared and angry
      23-year old protester facing off against a scared, probably
      angry 20-year old paramilitary cop in a militarized zone,
      where the young cop was issued live ammunition. You don't
      have to think that Carlo was a selfless martyr or that the
      cop was a demon to understand that the global leaders who
      set them both up are criminals. The elite wants to play a
      game of pitting accusations of evil culpability as cops
      denounce protesters and protesters demonize cops. Those
      leaders had use for a dead protester as a message and they
      got it.

      But blaming just the G-8 leaders is too easy, since the
      warnings were there for the protest movement. When you know
      the opponent is coming for you with live ammunition,
      denouncing the enemy for carrying out that threat is correct
      public relations but empty as strategic evaluation. At a
      certain point questions have to be asked what was done or
      not done by your leadership to prevent the casualties?

      So who killed Carlo Giuliani?

      The so-called Black Bloc are the easy ones to blame,
      promoting a theatre of violence in defiance of common
      democratic strategy, ignoring every sense of solidarity in
      complete mockery of an honorable tradition of anarchists in
      history, and acting as a nicely disorganized body to harbor
      police infiltrators and provocateurs. In a sense, the Black
      Bloc wanted a dead martyr as their message as much as the
      G-8 leadership wanted it for their purposes. Both fed off
      their mutual violence parasitically.

      Ideologically, the Bloc's individualistic acts of store
      destruction are merely an angry mirror to the consumerist
      individualism of those who shop there. The emptiness of
      their actions allows commentators to rightly dismiss them
      and, unfortunately, dismiss the broader disciplined movement
      against global capitalism.

      Worse, the violence they attract created the context in
      which Carlo Giuliani died and helped justify the police
      repression against the whole movement. Without newspaper
      photos and TV screens of violence as the police's public
      relations, the bloody Sunday raid on the nonviolent
      headquarters of the broad-based Genoa Social Forum would
      have caused far greater global outrage. Instead, much of the
      public shrugged and washed their hands of both sides of the

      But again, it's too easy to just blame the Black Bloc, who
      were really relatively few in numbers. With tens of
      thousands of non-violent protesters in Genoa, any
      disciplined leadership could have restrained and shut down
      the violent wing of the protests. Given the fact that the
      police had no real intention of restraining the violence,
      the responsibility to "keep the peace" fell to the
      leadership of the democratic movement. There are numerous
      non-violent ways to restrain such sectarian fringes at
      rallies, but it takes political will and strategy to
      confront them. Unfortunately for Carlo and the other
      casualties of Genoa, that political will was lacking.

      So Who Killed Carlo Giuliani?

      Back in June, Bobby Seale and a number of other Black
      Panther alumni had a conference in New Haven looking back 30
      years on the Panther trials in that city. They had a lot of
      fascinating reflections on the organizing of the day, but
      the one thing all of them stressed was their own mistakes in
      letting violence escalate beyond their point of control,
      since the cops can always seize on uncontrolled violence to
      infiltrate and discredit a movement.

      On the panel was a recent New Haven chief of police who had
      been on the force back in 1970. He made clear that the cops
      themselves were scared out of there minds back then because
      FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was feeding them all sorts of
      "intelligence" about the supposed murderous goals of the
      Panthers. The goal of the elite is always to use clashes
      between protesters and working class cops (playing on the
      sympathies the public often has with the police) to escalate
      to the point of discrediting protest. The reason we as
      activists have to be concerned about violence, including
      violence against the cops, is that our opponents don't care,
      in fact for all their protestations, would like nothing
      better than for a cop to die in order to justify more

      There was, I think, a somewhat unstrategic overconfidence
      that developed among protesters post-Seattle. The Seattle
      cops were unprepared and played into the propaganda goals of
      the protesters. As Philadelphia and now Genoa showed, the
      cops are no longer unprepared and are developing both the
      repressive technology and propaganda to crush the Black
      Bloc-style protesters and the rest of the movement if we
      don't develop some new strategies to control the escalation
      of violence.

      This is not an argument for reduced militancy, since
      discipline is the most dangerous weapon wielded in protest.
      Disciplined militancy demonstrates the power of
      organization, especially when deployed creatively.
      Uncontrolled violence on the other hand is a sign of
      weakness and lack of organizational power, for if the
      democratic movement cannot muster enough political will to
      restrain its own fringe, the elite knows that they have
      little to worry about either from such lack of strategic

      Ultimately, protests of tens of thousands, even hundreds of
      thousands, are not what will challenge global corporate
      power. Yet if disciplined resistance is shown at specific
      points, those protests can publicly reflect organizing
      happening in communities across the world. That will
      continue to send the message that a growing global movement
      is organizing for radical democratic change worldwide.

      On the other hand, if the democratic movement cannot exert
      that democratic discipline, they will only be promoting a
      hopeless Childrens Crusade, sending more young people like
      Carlo Giuliani off to die without purpose.

      The choice lies with the movement.

      Nathan Newman is a longtime union and community activist and
      author of the forthcoming book Net Loss on Internet policy
      and economic inequality. Email nathan@... or see

      Thursday, August 9, 2001

      Many rally to aid N.J. student arrested in Italy after

      By Jennifer Moroz

      A Quaker and vocal opponent of the death penalty who spends
      her spare time composing music and doing community service,
      Susanna Thomas is described by those who know her as a
      peaceful person.

      Certainly, they say, she is not the type to "conspire to
      devastate and plunder."

      But that is the charge that Italian police have brought
      against the 21-year-old Bryn Mawr College student. Finishing
      her junior year abroad, Thomas was arrested as she left
      Genoa on July 22 after the violent protests surrounding the
      G-8 summit.

      Authorities allege that Thomas, of Warren, N.J., and the
      activist performers with whom she was traveling had
      conspired with members of the Black Bloc anarchist movement,
      who clashed with police in Genoa's streets.

      Thomas, who could face a 15-year sentence on charges of
      conspiring to destroy property, was being held in an Italian
      jail, awaiting a hearing Monday.

      Her detainment for a crime that many say she is incapable of
      committing has sparked a crusade to secure her release. The
      movement, started by her family, has gained the support of
      New Jersey's U.S. senators, the Quaker community, and
      lawyers on both sides of the Atlantic.

      That effort comes as the Italian government is investigating
      the police force's treatment of anti-globalization activists
      at the annual meeting of the world's industrialized nations.

      "There is no indication that this peaceful, altruistic young
      woman did anything illegal," said Dick Atkins, the
      Philadelphia lawyer hired by the Thomas family. "For her to
      be in jail . . . for devastation and pillaging is

      "We think the police were just exerting their new power
      under the [newly elected] right-wing government."

      Atkins, who is working on the case with a lawyer in Milan,
      said Thomas, who is fluent in French and Spanish, had been
      working as a translator for the media at the summit. She was
      arrested with two dozen members of Publix Theatre, a
      political theater troupe that is based in Vienna, Austria,
      and travels throughout Europe to protest immigration laws
      and to promote the "no borders" movement. The group included
      three other Americans, whose names have not been released by
      the State Department.

      Atkins said police had searched the caravan, which included
      a bus and two other vehicles, for "anything they could
      reasonably or unreasonably connect them to Black Bloc,"
      whose hallmark is that members wear all black. They found
      two penknives, a couple of spare tires, and a black bra, he

      "She's a prisoner of happenstance," said her father, Rick
      Thomas, who manages a computer center at Rutgers University
      and has set up a Web site in support of his daughter's
      release. "It's all a horrible accident."

      Susanna Thomas, an honors student majoring in urban
      planning, had taken the year to study theology and politics
      at Jesuit University in Paris. After finishing her studies
      in May, she worked at a Quaker youth conference in Paris,
      traveled for three weeks with a friend, then started
      following the theater troupe as part of research for her
      senior thesis on nonviolence and social activism.

      Thomas had been corresponding with her parents regularly via
      e-mail and telephone and called the day of her arrest to say
      she was heading home soon. Two days later, the U.S.
      consulate in Milan called the Thomases to tell them that
      their daughter was being held at a women's prison in
      Voghera, halfway between Genoa and Milan.

      It was two weeks before they heard her voice again, this
      time from a jail cell.

      "She was scared, scared about her defense and how the appeal
      will go," her mother, Cathy Thomas, said of the conversation
      Tuesday. "She wants the whole group released because they
      are innocent."

      The family's frustration has gained widespread attention.

      U.S. Sens. Robert Torricelli and Jon S. Corzine sent a joint
      letter on July 27 to the U.S. Embassy in Rome, urging
      intervention. The two New Jersey Democrats followed up with
      information supporting Thomas' image as a young woman
      devoted to caring for other people, not violence.

      Thomas, among other things, has done work for Habitat for
      Humanity and spent a year as an AmeriCorps volunteer.

      "The senator is working with the State Department and our
      people in Rome to make sure this gets resolved as quickly as
      possible," Corzine spokeswoman Julie Roginsky said.

      Yesterday, president Nancy Vickers said the Bryn Mawr
      College community was deeply concerned about Thomas. "We
      expect that her defense will make clear that [Thomas] - a
      known Quaker - and the theater troupe with whom she was
      arrested have been wrongly accused of violence they did not
      commit," Vickers said.

      Erika Behrend, associate dean of Bryn Mawr's undergraduate
      college, earlier wrote to U.S. Sens. Rick Santorum and Arlen
      Specter, urging the two Pennsylvania Republicans to assist
      in the effort to secure Thomas' release.

      State Department officials said U.S. diplomats had visited
      all four American detainees.

      "We are doing what we would normally do," said Peter
      Becskehazy, spokesman for the department's Bureau of
      European Affairs. "We're working closely with them and their
      families and monitoring each case as it goes through the

      At Monday's hearing, the Italian court will decide whether
      to release Thomas, allow her to post bond and go free, or
      detain her for trial.

      "With all the support we're getting, I'm optimistic," said
      Atkins, a lawyer who specializes in cases of Americans
      detained overseas. "I know there will be a proper and
      righteous outcome to this."

      But Rick Thomas wasn't so certain.

      "I believe in a rational world, she would be released," he
      said. "But I understand that this is not a rational world."

      Jennifer Moroz's e-mail address is jmoroz@....

      Inquirer staff writer Kristin Holmes contributed to this
      article. It also includes information from the Associated

      Dan Clore

      Lord Weÿrdgliffe:
      Necronomicon Page:
      News for Anarchists & Activists:

      "It's a political statement -- or, rather, an
      *anti*-political statement. The symbol for *anarchy*!"
      -- Batman, explaining the circle-A graffiti, in
      _Detective Comics_ #608
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.