Socialist Worker

New evidence emerges about police savagery

Issue No. 1761

THE ITALIAN government is still feeling the after-effects of the great demonstrations against the G8 summit in Genoa last month. More photographic, video and eyewitness evidence of police brutality is emerging, keeping the pressure on right wing prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. The police killed one demonstrator during the protests. Many more were beaten by the police.

Top Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera printed photographs of badly beaten protesters on Saturday of last week. One photograph, taken from a video, shows a bloodied protester whose eye has swollen to the size of a grapefruit.

A second picture shows the same protester on the ground, with a senior police officer swinging his leg to kick him.

Fascist leader Gianfranco Fini is also deeply embroiled in the revelations. Fini is Berlusconi's deputy. He leads the National Alliance, a fascist party which follows in the tradition of Mussolini and is part of Berlusconi's coalition government.

It is now clear that Fini was personally present in Genoa police headquarters on both the Friday and the Saturday of the protests. Even before the latest revelations, Berlusconi bowed last week to pressure from both within Italy and from abroad to hold a parliamentary inquiry into the police violence.

Interior minister Claudio Scajola survived a parliamentary vote of confidence, but three key police commanders were moved to 'other posts' last week. Government The Italian government has also asked the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to move a planned conference on world hunger in November away from Rome. It is scared by the prospect of more protest. So too are other European leaders.

Germany's interior minister, Otto Schily, is calling for the formation of a Europe-wide corps of riot police to combat anti-globalisation protesters. Italian ministers are backing the plan. The world's rich and powerful want to hit back, and ensure they can meet when and where they want.

But mass anti-capitalist protests can keep the pressure on them. The next big planned protest is in Washington DC in the US at the end of September and the start of October.

Bologna march

THE IMPACT of the Genoa protests was seen in the Italian city of Bologna last week. An annual demonstration marks the 1980 Bologna bombing, when the city's railway station was blown up by right wing security forces as part of the Italian state's 'strategy of tension'.

The demonstration is normally a few hundred strong. This year it was several thousand. The Bologna Social Forum, which organised to get people to Genoa, joined the march with a banner saying 'December 1969 Milan, August 1980 Bologna, July 2001 Genoa: slaughtered by the state'. After a brilliant march, families of the victims of the 1980 bombing spoke and there was a one-minute silence.

The mayor of Bologna was then due to speak. He is from Berlusconi's party, Forza Italia. As soon as he started, people began to leave, turning their backs and marching away. 'There was a great feeling of strength,' says a socialist who was present. 'We were there to remember the victims and to protest against state violence, but not to hear speeches from those behind the massacres.'

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Article information

Sat 11 Aug 2001, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1761
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