Yesterday's Guardian had a pretty grim article by Nick Davies about the attack on anti-globalisation protestors in the Diaz Pertini school building in Genoa 2001. Here are a few extracts:
- She still cannot remember what happened. But numerous other witnesses have described how officers set upon her, beating her head so hard with their sticks that she rapidly lost consciousness. When she fell to the ground, officers circled her, beating and kicking her limp body, banging her head against a near-by cupboard, leaving her finally in a pool of blood. Katherina Ottoway, who saw this happen, recalled: "She was trembling all over. Her eyes were open but upturned. I thought she was dying, that she could not survive this.
- It was at that moment that a police officer sauntered over to him and kicked him in the chest with such force that the entire lefthand side of his rib cage caved in, breaking half-a-dozen ribs whose splintered ends then shredded the membrane of his left lung. Covell, who is 5ft 8in and weighs less than eight stone, was lifted off the pavement and sent flying into the street. He heard the policeman laugh. The thought formed in Covell's mind: "I'm not going to make it."
The riot squad were still struggling with the gate, so a group of officers occupied the time by strolling over to use Covell as a football. This bout of kicking broke his left hand and damaged his spine. From somewhere behind him, Covell heard an officer shout that this was enough - "Basta! Basta!" - and he felt his body being dragged back on to the pavement.
- Officers broke down doors to the rooms leading off the corridors. In one, they found Dan McQuillan and Norman Blair, who had flown in from Stansted to show their support for, as McQuillan put it, "a free and equal society with people living in harmony with each other". The two Englishmen and their friend from New Zealand, Sam Buchanan, had heard the police attack on the ground floor and had tried to hide their bags and themselves under some tables in the corner of the dark room. A dozen officers broke in, caught them in a spotlight and, even as McQuillan stood up with his hands raised saying, "Take it easy, take it easy," they battered them into submission, inflicting numerous cuts and bruises and breaking McQuillan's wrist. Norman Blair recalled: "I could feel the venom and hatred from them."
- In the corridor, they set about her like dogs on a rabbit. She was beaten around the head then kicked from all sides on the floor, where she felt her rib cage collapsing. She was hauled up against the wall where one officer kneed her in the groin while others carried on lashing her with their batons. She slid down the wall and they hit her more on the ground: "They seemed to be enjoying themselves and, when I cried out in pain, it seemed to give them even more pleasure."
There's plenty more in the same vein. The cops gave fascist salutes, forced their victims to sing pro-Mussolini songs and to shout "Viva il Duce" and "Un, due te, Viva Pinochet", and threatened to rape and murder.
It also seems that Gianofranco Fini (the "post"-fascist Deputy Prime Minister) was in police HQ while this was going on.
Thanks to the efforts of some of the victims and one of those extraordinary Italian prosecutors we often read about (usually in the context of an anti-Mafia investigation) 15 police officers (a fraction of those involved) have been convicted; but none will go to jail (the caee is tied up in the appeals procedure and Berlusconin is currently pushing though legislation which will essentially indemnify the police - and himself - because the events occured before June 2002). Many others police who were involved have escaped altogether and some have been prmoted.
Meanwhile, earlier this year the newly elected "post"-fascist Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, declared: "We are the new Falange" and was greeted with fascist saultes and cries of "Duce, Duce" by his supporters at Rome's city hall.
Meanwhile the Romani camps in Naples have been attacked and set on fire by mobs, and this has been followed by smilar attacks elsewhere, including Sicily, where it seems the local mafia encouraged the attacks. The Italian government is currently pressing ahead with plans to fingerprint all Romani people, including children.
And what did Tony Blair say about what happened in Genoa? He protested vigorously to the Italian government....Nah! Only kidding. His spokesman said: "The italian police have a difficult job to do. The Prime Minister belives that they did that job".