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Fedele NJ Quaker needs help... (13) RE: NJ Quaker needs help... 31 Aug 01

Witness about Genoa - lots of emails like these went around Italy. I translated it, sorry for the funny English.

Hi everybody. I was in the Genoa demos on Friday and Saturday, the ones with the riots. What I saw and lived is hard to tell, maybe harder to believe for those who weren't there.

I just ask you to read this whole email and believe me as I say that what I'm going to tell is totally true. They are things I myself saw or I've been reported by dear frieds. Medias, especially TV, are trying to distort reality in an astonishing way.

I can't find the right words to tell my emotions now, and the emotions of all those people who were in Genoa and I talked to today. Three days we've been chased by police and Carabinieri, many have been beaten, offended, menaced. A boy has been killed. Armed forced should allow demonstrations to be held, they should defend who demonstrates democra tically. In Genoa demonstrators were like meat in a butchery.

First part. On the very leaving from Milan, we understand that since that moment we are no more real citizens. Before getting on the train we're searched as criminals, one by one. Ok till now, it's for safety. The trains needs 8 hours to get to Genoa, it normally takes 2. Nobody tells us, nobody explains us. Got to Genoa at 5 in the morning. We found a place to sleep in in a football ground set as a camping. The atmosphere is beautiful. Thousands of people sleeping side by side, still thinking about the peaceful demo on Thursday 19th. We want to share an important experience and we're looking forward with hope to the following day.

Second part. The day after, a sudden awake. On Friday, various associations will gather around the city to make a siege-party with dances, plays and slogans to the famous Red Zone. In teh square where I was, we dance and sing next to the metal fences built in defence of the G6. We clap our hands on the fences, we shout slogans against G8 and the locking of the city. Suddenly the police uses the fire extinguishers [don't know the English name for those vehicles that shoot water] with water and hot pepper that burns in the eyes. Once, twice, but nobody loses his temper [by the way, it was the Forest Defence Corps that started doing that stupid thing and they were stopped by police itself].

Three. Calm is over in other places in the city. On the road next to the sea here comes the famous "black bloc", some of them are seen talking with the police, some of them just come out of the police ranks. They begin to break everything. Police and carabinieri don't do anything. Black blocs try to get into the COBAS trade union demo, they hit one of their leaders, they are hardly pushed back. Then the Black bloc go to the Squat demo square, armed and dangerous. Police chase them, demonstrators find themselves attacked first by the Black bloc then by the police that begins to charge violently. Black blocs go away and go to the square where the Lilliput net is (fair trade groups, catholic groups, peace supporters). People tryto push them forward making non-violent resistance. Police charge the square and beat. People raise their hands shouting PEACE! Tear gas fly, sticks hit. People injured. Black bloc go away and keep on destroying the city. 300-400 black bloc go around Genoa, their leaders know the city very well: their walking aims to all the squares where demonstrators are. Impressing: they are organized like an army, they get into other demos, leaders shouting orders, the others obeying. Then police and carabinieri follow and charge demonstrators while black bloc go away.

Four. about 6 o'clock. We know that carabinieri killed a demonstrator. We gather in the Genoa Social Forum citadel, near the sea, about ten thousand people. Exhausted, we hear about tens of injured people in the hospitals and at least the double number who have decided not to go to the hospital in order not to meet the police. Bertinotti is there, the only politician who had the bravery to show [the secretary of the Italian Communist Refoundation Party], he succeeds in keeping us a bit calm. We would like to go to our campings, but we are asked not to leave the citadel: police has started beating whoever looks like a demonstrator. Speakers say don't go, it's dangerous, we've asked the major to have buses taking us back to the campings, it's dangerous to walk around Genoa, police is out of control.

We're nervous, afraid, there are news of violent beatings. Boys and nuns cry. Lots of injured people. An old man cries with an injury on his head, he's a retired factory worker. Senator Malabarba [same party] has been in the main police stations: he found there strange people dressed as demonstrators, they speak foreign languages, they talk with the police and then get out of the station. We're more and more nervous every time helicopters fly around the citadel lighting us with a huge light. We're imprisoned for 4 hours, then buses come and take us to the campings, we're exhausted. In the night one of the campings is surrounded by the police. "Get in and search, do as you want" say the demonstrators [most of them were White Overalls, especially proud about the fact that they had nothing to hide!]. People cry: they ask not to be charged again. Police don't find anything. We talk: we're afraid and astonished about things going on. We finally fall asleep, worried about the following day.

Five. Saturday moring, big demo. 300 thousand people. The beginning is calm, songs, dances, hundreds of flegs, colours, different languages. Ecologists, peasants, civil rights associations, common people, old people, parents with children. Then without any reason police breaks the demo in two parts in Kennedy square. Black bloc suddenly get out of the demo: hell raises. Police charges both parts of the demo. The first parts succeeds in going forward, the rear part will stand still under the sun till the evening [I was in this part but very far from the police]. Chasings start all around Genoa, police beats everyone. The rear part of the demo is between a high wall and the sea; the police is in front of the demo. Suddenly the police start shooting tear gas against the demo: they were all sitting with their hands raised, unarmed. Tear gas is burning the eyes and doesn't allow to breathe [I have asthma and I wonder what could have happened to me if I was there.] The only way to escape is diving into the sea: 500 people in the water. Helicopters throw tear gas from above. In the meanwhile Black Bloc go everywhere, nobody stops them. They hit a boy from the Italian Communist Refoundation Party, they throw stones against the Genoa Social Forum leaders, they start fires, break everything. I'm in the head of the demo, things are calm there. The Genoa Social Forum asks us to go on: we must leave the square in order to allow people to escape police charging and tear gas.

We get to the Marassi stadium where our buses are waiting for us. We must stay there: there's a war all around the city. Tear gas come there too and police charges against people sitting or standing waiting for the buses to leave. People try to run, but all the exits are blocked.

We gather again and we have to cross the city back: we have to go back to the Genoa Social Forum citadel to take our backpacks and try to find a way to go back home. We are suggested to pay attention: police is chasing everywhere. Some police trucks pass us by, policemen shout "we'll kill you all!" and they laugh while aiming to us with their guns.

Six. Demo is over. At midnight police makes a breakthrough in the GSF press center. They hit everyone's there, even the lawyers and their chief. Blood everywhere. They destroy all the computers of the lawyers office with tens of reports collected during the riots. They seize or destroy videotapes about police abuses in the friday and saturday demos. Lawyers, journalists, members of parliament, doctors and film directors are forbidden to enter. Vittorio Agnoletto [Genoa SOcial Forum leader] and some members of parilament are hit.

These three days have been a real nightmare and the nightmare went on when I watched the TV news. They're telling lies. I began realizing what happened in Genoa and I'm so angry I'm almost crying.

Basic human rights have been violated, medias are completely under the control of those who wanted and made this massacre. [Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi owns 3 national TV channels and now he also controls the 3 public broadcasting channels.] Think about this: before a film came out, police reports about that demonstrator's death were telling that he was killed by a stone thrown by another demonstrator. Most of the witnesses collected by the Genoa Social Forum have been destroyed or seized by the police. Please tell everybody how things really went.

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