27th G8 summit

Protestors on the Streets
Protestors on the Streets

The 27th G8 summit took place in Genoa, Italy, in July 2001. The summit was overshadowed by riots in the city after a violent crackdown by police targeting largely peaceful protestors. One protestor was shot by the police.

Fears of terrorist attack at the time had led to an air exclusion zone around the city, as well as the stationing of anti-aircraft missiles. In the event the feared attack took place in the United States on September 11.



The Genoa Group of Eight Summit protest, from July 18 to July 22, 2001, was one of the most dramatic protests in Western Europe's recent history, drawing some 300,000 demonstrators and resulting in the death of at least one activist. Dozens more were hospitalized following clashes with police and night raids by security forces on two schools housing activists and independent journalists. People taken into custody after the raids have alleged severe abuse at the hands of police.

Demonstrators have accused the police of brutality and denying them their right to non-violent protest. They believe that G8 summits are non-legitimate attempts by eight of the world's most powerful governments to set the rules for the planet at large. Police and many politicians have argued that attempting to blockade a meeting is in itself a violent event and an attempt to impede the workings of democratically elected governments. The center-right Italian government led by Premier Silvio Berlusconi insists that police used the minimum amount of force necessary to achieve their goals. It says that the protestors' claims are exaggerated.

The G8 meeting was held inside a "Red Zone" in the center of town that had been evacuated of inhabitants and surrounded by a barricade, leaving protesters no chance to communicate with summit delegates. Only one activist, Valerie Vie, secretary of a French branch of ATTAC, managed to publicly breach the Red Zone barrier. There were also several border riots ahead of the summit, as police attempted to prevent suspected activists from entering Italy. The Italian government suspended the Schengen treaty for the duration of the G8 summit, in order to monitor the movement of the many protesters arriving from across the European Union.

Injuries and deaths

All in all, several hundred demonstrators were injured and dozens more arrested over the course of the event. Most of those arrested were charged with "criminal conspiracy to commit destruction". Police continued to raid social centers, media centers, union buildings and legal offices across Italy after the summit as part of ongoing investigations. Over 400 protestors were injured during the clashes. Twenty-five people are currently standing trial for property damage and looting during the events.

On Friday July 20, a 23-year-old protestor Carlo Giuliani of Genoa, was shot dead by a Carabiniere officer during clashes with police. They say he was about to hurl a fire extinguisher into their jeep. One activist who had been heading to Genoa, Susanne Bendotti, was hit by a vehicle and killed on July 21 at the French-Italian border in Ventimiglia. Another, Maria Jose Olivastri, was found naked and strangled in a ditch in Padua, two weeks after the summit.

Genoa demonstrator Edoardo Parodi, a close friend of Carlo Giuliani, died shortly after Genoa after experiencing severe health problems possibly related to the police use of CS gas during the event. Rumors of further deaths and Genoa demonstrators who remain missing after the summit continue to circulate. See photos from Genoa (http://www.nadir.org/nadir/initiativ/agp/free/genova/pics1.htm).


Numerous police officers and local and national officials have been ordered to stand trial in connection with the event. In one trial, 28 police officials are standing trial on charges related to the two night raids, charged with conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, use of excessive force and planting evidence. In other proceedings, 45 state officials, including prison guards, police and medics, are being tried for abusing detainees in their custody who were arrested during the raid. Detainees reported being spat at, verbally and physically humiliated, and threatened with anal and vaginal rape. One woman reportedly had her head thrust down a toilet. [Indymedia (https://www1.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/05/311297.html)] Not one of those indicted has resigned.

Police have since admitted to planting Molotov cocktails in order to justify the Diaz School raids, as well as faking the stabbing of a police officer to frame activists (fair.org (http://www.fair.org/activism/genoa-update.html)).

Police conducted nighttime raids upon centers housing protestors and campsites, most notably the attacks on the Diaz-Pascoli and Diaz-Pertini schools shortly after midnight on July 21. These were being used as sleeping quarters, and had also been set up as centers for those providing media, medical, and legal support work. Police baton attacks left three activists, including British journalist Mark Covell, in comas. At least one person has suffered brain damage, while another had both jaws and fourteen teeth broken. In total, over 60 were severely injured and a parliamentary inquiry was launched [Guardian (http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,3604,526484,00.html)]. It concluded no wrongdoing on the part of police although those in charge of the event have since been indicted.

Ninety-three people were arrested during the raids. In May, 2003, Judge Anna Ivaldi concluded that they had put up no resistance whatsoever to the police and all charges were dropped against them.

See also

External links

it:Fatti del G8 di Genova


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