Genoa: 17 November 2007

In July 2001, 300,000 people took to the streets of Genoa, Italy against the G8 (Group of Eight, most industrialised nations) Summit. It was one of the most defining moments of the counter-globalisation ‘movement of movements’’s history. As thousands upon thousands took part in an organised attempt to force their way through police lines and into the ‘Red Zone’ surrounding the Conference Centre – and many thousands more took part in sit-ins, direct actions and various forms of civil disobedience – the Italian police and Carabinieri (with the tacit support of the world leaders gathered) unleashed their full force on those gathered in the city’s streets and piazzas. Many saw Genoa as a declaration of war on the body of the movement in Europe. Hundreds were arrested and brutally beaten. One demonstrator, Carlo Guiliani, was shot dead by Carabinieri. On July 21, a special police unit stormed the Diaz School where demonstrators and journalists were sleeping. Of the 93 detained, 62 were injured (20 of whom had to be carried out of the building on stretchers), according to Amnesty International. Some of those arrested spent up to seven weeks in jail in appalling conditions.

Now, six years on, 25 of those arrested for their alleged involvement in the protests in Genoa are facing between 6 and 16 years in jail each. They are facing charges of “devastation and pillage”. Prosecuting lawyers have urged the judge to take into consideration the alleged “moral responsibility” of the defendants, asking that they not only be sentenced for those crimes they are accused of committing themselves, but also their responsibility for inspiring others into action.

On November 17, 2007, thousands will return to Genoa to support those facing charges. The war declared on the movement in Genoa was waged on us all. The task of resisting this war – which continues to be waged, in a far more generalised way – is the task which faces us all. November 17 is an opportunity for the history of Genoa to be re-told by our side; for the movement to articulate itself again in the streets of Genoa.

Turbulence: ideas for movement supports the demonstration in Genoa on November 17.

The Editors

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