For current political commentary, see the daily political notes.
RMS's Bio | The GNU Project
24 May 2003
The accusations against the activists arrested in the infamous "scuola Diaz" raid were dropped because the activists did not resist the police. A BBC video of a journalist being beaten up by the police was handed to the judges dealing with the case against the police.
4 September 2001
The ex-chief of the Genoa police now admits there were 600 neo-nazis infiltrating the Genoa protests, with the aim ofcommitting acts of violence that would discredit the protestors.
26 August 2001
Greece has levied criminal charges against Italian police for attacking a group of Greeks on their way to Genoa to participate in the protests. Since Greece and Italy are both members of the European Union, Greek citizens have the right to travel to Italy.
The Italian police claimed that the protestors had attacked them; the Greek prosecutor called this a "a distortion of reality."
17 August 2001
An Italian woman who participated in the anti-globalization demonstrations at the G8 summit in Genoa returned to her home in Padua, and was later found strangled in a river. Her attacker used such force that bones in her neck were broken.
11 August 2001
Norman Blair has updated his statement concerning the events in Genoa.
British protestors arrested in Genoa have set up a fund to ask people to help cover the expenses imposed by their arrests, and to try to bring their police attackers to justice.
10 August 2001
Irish activist Joe Moffat has posted a statement about being arrested and beaten by Italian police, then while held in jail denied the legal rights of arrested people.
4 August 2001
I have more information about the Britons who were kidnaped by Italian police in Genoa. They were Richard Byrne, a vet from east London, and John Harper and Julie Quinn, both of Glasgow. What they have in common is that they have participated in nonviolent disarmament protests at Faslane nuclear base in the UK. (For the record, I am not particularly a supporter of that cause myself--but the issue here is how they should be treated for advocating it.) Three other protestors that had been arrested at Faslane were expelled from Italy a day earlier. One of them, Brian Quail, announced on July 22 that his son was detained by police with machine guns as a suspected "terrorist". (His son is not even involved in the protests.)
The Faslane protests follow the strictest nonviolent tradition--"I have crossed your line, so now please arrest me"--and involve nothing that even hints at force. The only danger these protestors pose, whether at Faslane or in Genoa, is the danger they might convince others to share their nonstandard political views. When British police treat dissenters as terrorists, the implications for democracy in Britain are dark.
31 July 2001 Here is the statement of Norman Blair, one of those attacked by police while sleeping in the Diaz School in Genoa. He was beaten, arrested and tortured, and he describes how other victims were treated.
The charges against him were dropped by the judge, who said his arrest was illegal, but even then he was not freed by the police; instead, he was deported from Italy and forbidden to return for 5 years, with no due process of law. He plans to sue.
Starhawk, a witness to the police attacks on sleeping protestors and independent journalists in Genoa, now reports on the implications of their tactics. When the police forced imprisoned protestors to cheer Benito Mussolini, the leader of Fascism in Italy, this was no coincidence.
25 members of " No border, no nation," a theatre caravan that tours Europe, were arrested in Italy while crossing the border to Frankfurt. They were beaten at the police station, held and questioned for 4 days without being charged with a crime.
Eventually they were charged with vandalism, endangerment of public safety and membership in a criminal organization. Under Italian law, people charged with membership in a criminal organization may be denied contact with anyone but a lawyer.
The police confiscated knives that the caravan used to prepare food to give away at their performances, black clothing and assorted theatre props and costumes. All of these things are to be used as evidence of the caravan's supposed crimes. Italian Carabinieri have already beaten people for sleeping; now the police are going after people for cooking and performing.
The G8 summit in Genoa has ended, but the beatings and frame-ups continue. A report by Eddie Yuen (via claude [A T] freedomarchives [D O T] org) says that the Italian police are still sweeping Italy for more protestors to arrest, still fabricating charges for them, and still beating them in the process. International protestors are being arrested while trying to leave Italy. He also reports systematic torture by the Italian police, in a planned, coordinated assault on the protestors, all the while painting them as "violent anarchists" regardless of who they really are.
29 July 2001
The Italian daily la Repubblica interviewed a police officer who was involved in the beatings at the Diaz school and elsewhere in Genoa. "I still have the smell in my nose, the smell of the faeces of those arrested who were not allowed to use a toilet." "What happened at the school and continued here in Bolzaneto was the suspension of rights, a hole in the constitution. I tried to talk about it to some of my colleagues and do you know what they said? That we don't need to worry because we're covered!" The interview translated into English and in Italian.
26 July 2001
A New Zealand journalist was arrested and beaten in the raid on the Diaz school in Genoa -- then charged with, among other spurious charges, attempted murder. He is currently not allowed to contact anyone. It is evident that neither the police nor the prosecutors respect the law. For them, it is just an excuse to attack and imprison dissidents.
A sequence of pictures of the shooting of protestor Carlo Giuliani suggests that he was holding a police fire extinguisher to shield himself from the policeman's gun, and not attacking anyone.
As their police guard killed and maimed protestors, the G8 summit offered lip service instead of significant help for the global problems that the protestors demanded attention for.
Aileen O'Carroll has written an analysis of television coverage of Genoa. "The Italian police were looking for revenge when they attacked the Indymedia centre. Their choice of victim sent out a clear message; 'we do not want you to be able to tell the truth of what happened in Genoa'. They would rather we relied instead on the mainstream media with their acceptable assumptions. They do not want the status quo to be challenged. If you were in Genoa, make sure you tell your story."
22 July 2001
Italian police raided the a web radio journalist organization, www.radiogap.net, destroying the computers and stealing the data. They did this without a warrant, pretending to be searching for weapons.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the Italian police are warning journalists to stay away from the protests because protestors might attack journalists. Can you believe such gall?
But people were filmed getting out of a police van dressed as protestors, and then breaking windows and engaging in general vandalism. Maybe they attack journalists, too.
21 July 2001
At least two protestors have been killed in connection with the G8 summit in Geneva. One was shot by police then run over by their vehicle. Another was killed at the border between France and Italy where EU citizens are supposed to have free passage. One or two body bags were taken out of the Diaz school, after police invaded it and beat up sleeping protestors. It is not known whether they contained corpses, but many of the protestors had to be carried to the hospital on stretchers. Once there, they were all arrested, and some were later tortured.
A woman taking photos was attacked by 7 policemen, who dragged her behind a van and beat her, while others destroyed her film. The police seem to be trying to destroy the evidence of their crimes.
Three Britons were kidnaped by police at Genoa airport. The police held them prisoner incommunicado for 8 hours, hiding them from the lawyer who was looking for them, all the while claiming that they were not under arrest. (People who are arrested have a legal right to see their lawyers.) The men were ultimately forced onto a plane back to Britain, still prisoners, still "not under arrest".
It is normal for police to arrest suspects, but since these men were taken prisoner and transported without having been arrested, let alone convicted of a crime, kidnaping is the only applicable term.
21 July 2001
To hinder protests against the G8 summit in Genoa, Italian police have been raiding activists' homes and offices all over Italy. By claiming they are searching for weapons, they have bypassed the democratic formality of search warrants. They have found no weapons, but they have reportedly confiscated other property ranging from helmets to papers. The police in Genoa have been randomly searching people on the street, and one victim was arrested for having a butter knife. One wonders when people who know karate will be arrested for carrying their hands and feet.
The pattern from previous protests suggests that the police are likely to step up their hostile activities until they get a "violent" response (though probably lesser harsh than what the police have already done). This will then be reported in the mainstream media as an excuse for even worse police violence.
See www.indymedia.org to follow.
Return to Richard Stallman's home page.
Please send comments on these web pages to email@example.com.
Copyright (C) 2000 Richard Stallman
Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium, provided this notice is preserved.