GENOA, ITALY – The Genoa Social Forum and the Independent Media Center facilities in Genoa were raided by police late Saturday night, July 21, 2001. The carabinieri (police) started by pulling up about 300 meters up the road in four to five vans. They got out and started to jog down the street in riot gear. People saw them and started to enter both buildings- the main Genoa Social Forum (GSF) building where IMC-Italy is located, and the local school across the street, which was serving as a convergence center for the protesters.
The school had been a safe space for people to sleep for a few days. As the convergence center for the G8 demonstrations was quite close, many people came to get information on the counter conference and the solidarity marches and also to use computers. Many
people who slept in the school were participants from the marches.
The carabinieri, reaching the school and the GSF building started to arbitrarily beat people
with their batons as they scrambled to get inside either building. The main doors were locked on the GSF building but they entered from side doors. The IMC staff tried to calm people down as the carabinieri came in and demanded that everyone stand spread-eagle against the
wall for about 30 minutes. The police wandered in and out of the rooms, looking for anything incriminating.
They then moved everyone into one area and ordered them to sit. What they found (and took) was various media (discs, tapes). They also took some salad knives from the kitchen and a couple of gas masks, and apparently the police took all available passports and
wallets and diaries from people’s bags on the ground. The carabinieri tried to take one
of the IMC reporters but another journalist with G8 accreditation stepped in, and he was left alone.
The police eventually left, but the GSF Lawyer’s office was ransacked Damage to IMC-Italy by Genoa police and the computers destroyed, hard drives taken and the phones smashed. After they left, people immediately checked their gear and recorded what was taken.
Then it was learned what had happened across the street at the school.
When the police approached they grabbed the first people they could outside the school
and beat them. One of the first was a UK reporter who was hit repeatedly by a group of police, who held him by his neck while the other carabinieri beat him with clubs. He was left in the street in a pool of blood, and is presently in a coma at a local hospital. When police entered the school, many people inside raised their hands, but the police started smashing the windows. Some people then ran to the third floor and managed to escape out of an upper window. Those left inside were severely beaten. At least five were brought out
unconscious. Later, after more arrests in the street, the police and fleet of ambulances departed. Entering the school, witnesses found blood on the walls, on the floor and at the bottoms of stairs. The scene was horrible. Even the ambulance staff were obviously shocked, yet there are reports that those taken to hospitals are being arrested.
The local media and other reports have said police were here searching for weapons or drugs. The testimonies of people in both buildings, the blood on the street and inside the school and the number seriously injured tells the true story.