G8 Genoa 2001- "It was a mexican Butchers shop"
Italian police brutalized protesters at 2001 G8, says top police official
ROME (AP) - Italian police brutalized protesters gathered in a school during the 2001 G-8 summit in Genoa, and left the place 'looking like a butcher's shop', a top law-enforcement official testified.
The comments reported by Italian newspapers Thursday were made at the trial in Genoa of Italian police officers accused of using excessive force.
The remarks were the highest-level public admission of police brutality in the case, and led some politicians Thursday to call for a parliament inquiry.
«Policemen beat up defenseless people,» Michelangelo Fournier, a top police official in Rome and a defendant in the trial, told the court on Wednesday.
«Four officers were beating up a girl whose head was cracked, she was lying on the floor in a pool of blood,» he said, according to Corriere della Sera and other reports. «It looked like a Mexican butcher's shop.
«I have kept silent out of shame and a sense of belonging» to the police corps, he told the Genoa court.
Police raided the Diaz school, where protesters were gathering, in the middle of the night at the end of a G-8 summit marred by massive protests, with some groups turning violent. The officers said they were acting on a tip that violent demonstrators were hiding there.
Many of the activists in the school reported injuries and gave accounts of police brutality.
New inquiry urged in Genoa G8 case
Police brutality amounted to "carnage", court told
(ANSA) - Rome, June 14 - Italian MPs called on Thursday for a fresh parliamentary inquiry into a violence-marred 2001 international summit in Genoa after a top policeman changed his testimony and said the police brutality he had witnessed against anti-globalisation protesters was "carnage".
The Italian Communists' Party (PDCI) and the Greens, two parties in Premier Romano Prodi's centre-left governing coalition, said a parliamentary commission of inquiry was a "moral duty" after hearing the account given by Michelangelo Fournier, the former deputy chief of Rome's flying squad.
Fournier is one of 29 policemen on trial over a night raid on a school used as sleeping quarters by protesters during the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001.
Breaking with his former version of events, Fournier told the court on Wednesday that he arrived at the school when the raid was already under way and saw police "beating harmless people" including some already seriously injured.
He said he saw one female protester lying inert on the floor in a pool of blood and being beaten with batons by four policemen.
"I was terrified and stunned when I saw this girl lying on the floor with her head split open and surrounded by blood... I thought she was dying, especially when I saw what I thought looked like spatterings of brain matter around her," Fournier said.
He said he immediately put a stop to the beating and ordered ambulances for the girl and the other injured.
Fournier said he had lied in earlier testimony and that his conscience had prompted him to now tell the truth.
"I kept quiet out of a sense of shame but also loyalty. I didn't want to bring discredit on the force by revealing such serious conduct. I'm a policeman and I came from a police family - I was born in a barracks. I have carried this cross (of silence) for six years," he said.
The raid took place on the night of July 21, 2001 when some 150 police in riot gear burst into the Diaz school and arrested 93 protesters including British, French, German and other non-Italian nationals. Most of the demonstrators were beaten during the operation, some seriously, and 63 had to be taken to hospital. Three people were left comatose, including a freelance British journalist, Marc Covell.
Covell was unconscious for 14 hours and left with a vein twisted around his spine, a shredded lung, broken fingers, ten smashed teeth and eight broken ribs.
The police defendants, among them several high-ranking officers, face a range of charges, including assault, causing grievous bodily harm, professional misconduct, falsifying evidence and defamation.
More than 300,000 demonstrators converged on Genoa for the G8 summit.
During two days of subsequent mayhem, one protestor was shot dead while attacking a Carabinieri policeman, shops and businesses were ransacked and hundreds of people injured in clashes between police and demonstrators.
According to protesters inside the Diaz school, they were brutally attacked by the police for no reason.
The police instead maintain that the protesters were harbouring dangerous weapons and resisting arrest and that they were forced to defend themselves.
All charges against the demonstrators were subsequently dropped while the police stand accused of planting evidence against them including two molotov cocktails and falsely accusing them of violence.
The court was told in January that the molotov cocktails had "accidentally" been destroyed. Several policeman are under investigation in connection with their disappearance.
2001 PARLIAMENTARY INQUIRY EXONERATED POLICE.
A 2001 parliamentary inquiry into the Genoa violence exonerated the police on charges of having used excessive force but stressed that magistrates were entitled to investigate any individual instances of alleged brutality.
On the school raids, the commission said its inquiries had shown the "legitimate behaviour of the police force" despite "certain defects in the co-ordination on a decision-making and operational level".
Critics at the time accused the then government of centre-right chief Silvio Berlusconi of a whitewash.
The PDCI and the Greens said on Thursday they would present a bill requesting the new inquiry.
"We owe it to those young men and women who were treated like criminals and beaten to a pulp... We have to find out who gave the orders for such ferocious action against harmless protesters," they said.
Support for the inquiry was expressed by other members of Prodi's nine-party alliance.
Euro MP Vittorio Agnoletto, an anti-globalisation activist who played a leading role in the Genoa protests, commented: "Finally, after six years, a policeman has found the courage to tell the truth and confirm what we have always known, that the raid on the school was a real bloodbath".
The trial into the Diaz school case began in April 2005.
A separate trial is under way in which 45 state officials, including police officers, prison guards and doctors, have been charged with physically and mentally abusing demonstrators held in a detention centre in the nearby town of Bolzaneto.
Nearly 250 activists say they were spat at, verbally and physically humiliated and threatened with rape.
Small Sardinian island to host G8 summit in 2009
ROME (Reuters) - Italy will hold the 2009 Group of Eight summit of rich nations at a small Sardinian island accessible only by boat, the government said on Thursday.
The 2009 summit will be held in Maddalena, home of a U.S. nuclear submarine base which is due to close in 2008.
Italy last hosted the G8 in 2001 in Genoa, which was one of the most violent in the history of the summits.
One demonstrator was shot and killed in a clash with police and dozens of others were injured in a separate incident when police stormed a high school housing protesters.
Earlier on Thursday, a senior Italian policeman said police had "butchered" protesters at the 2001 summit and called for a parliamentary inquiry.
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