Labour’s wrath and hope and sorrow
Red the promise, black the threat
Who are we to not remember?
Who are we to dare forget?
Ralph Chaplin – Red November, Black November
Ten years ago today, the G8 – a gathering of eight of the world’s largest economies and most powerful nations – held its annual summit in Genoa, Italy. Held at the height of the anti-globalisation movement, the summit saw some of the most intense protests of the time, with clashes between protestors and police raging across the city. Controversy over violence during the summit, and mental and physical torture carried out against protestors, led to a parliamentary enquiry in Italy and trials of both police and protestors which would drag on for years. Much of the violence involved Italy’s notorious Carabinieri, a quasi-military police force entrusted by Mussolini to suppress opposition, a role they have kept to this day.
Social centres housing activists were raided, with police beating protestors while they slept, subjecting many to conditions that can only be described as torture. An eyewitness to the raids describes the aftermath:
At 4AM we were back at the GSF. We immediately found out about the horrendous injuries to British media activist Sky (See SchNEWS 316). In the aftermath I walked around the school – large pools of blood along the corridor, smears on the walls, and personal objects, clothing and bandages bloodied. Peoples’ possessions just thrown around the room on the ground floor where they were sleeping. Some people were still weeping and trembling. All the computers in the foyer had smashed screens (as though the dickhead cops thought the screen held the memory). At this point there was an emergency meeting to plan support for those hospitalised and arrested – work out who was missing, who had transport etc.”
Later we got stories back from arrestees: “We know that they have arrested everyone they hospitalised, taken people to jail and tortured them. One young French man had his head badly beaten on Friday in the street. In jail, they took him into a room, twisted his arms behind his back and banged his head on the table. Another man was taken into a room covered with pictures of Mussolini and pornography, and alternately slapped around and then stroked with affection in a weird psychological torture. Others were forced to shout, “Viva El Duce”!! Just in case it wasn’t clear that this is fascism, Italian style.”
Violence raged throughout the summit, regardless of circumstance, with pacifists, trade unions, black bloc anarchists and others all finding themselves in clashes with the police. In the midst of the riots, an activist by the name of Carlo Giuliani was shot dead by police, killed while holding a fire extinguisher with the alleged aim of throwing it at a police van. A policeman within the van shot Giuliani in the face at point blank range. After the shooting, the van drove over him as he lay dying, not just once, but twice.
Nobody was ever convicted for his murder.
Today we remember Carlo Giuliani, and all those who have been assaulted, detained, beaten, arrested, imprisoned and murdered in their fight for a better world.
Love, rage and remembrance,
A York Anarchist