Socialist Worker

Police in the dock

Three years ago Italian police launched a brutal attack on protesters at the G8 summit. Last week 29 officers finally went on trial, including the country’s anti-terrorism chief. RICH MOTH and NICOLA DOHERTY report.

Issue No. 1908

WE HAVE just returned from Genoa in Italy, visiting for the first time since attending the demonstration at the G8 summit three years ago.

Around midnight on 21 July 2001 we were severely beaten during a police raid on the Diaz School, where we were sleeping. More than 60 of the 93 of us present needed hospital treatment for the injuries we sustained.

We were then arrested and detained in harsh conditions for five days, first in a police compound at Bolzaneto and subsequently in prison. During this time we were denied any access to legal or consular support.

The police claimed that those of us staying at the school were responsible for violence. But all demonstrators have been completely cleared by Italian magistrates of any offences.

Instead 29 police officers are to be charged with brutality, perjury and defamation. The accusations include planting of Molotov cocktails in the school and fabricating a stab wound.

Significantly, high-ranking officers who were responsible for the raid are among those being prosecuted.

Around 40 of the protesters attacked at the school met in Genoa on 25 June to hold a press conference. Speakers vowed not to be deterred from protesting by police violence.

Our maltreatment was compared with more recent abuses of human rights in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison.

The next day we attended the first session of the preliminary court hearings against the police.

We then marched to the Diaz School for an emotional and defiant gathering, hanging banners from gates that the police had demolished in their attack.

British protesters have been calling for our government to condemn this brutal assault against innocent demonstrators. It has still failed to do.

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Sat 3 Jul 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1908
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