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Genoa Eyewitness Accounts
THURSDAY JULY 19TH MIGRANTS MARCH
Genoa? She's Like A Sister To Me
By Flaco & Gibby
GENOA July 19: The sun ain't shining, but 100,000 well-tooled
lunatics are gearing up for some heated exchanges on the streets
The shakers and breakers of the G8 nations may have hand picked
the Ligurian capital for its winding streets and an old-skool trading
port, but Bush, Blair and Berlusconi hadn't counted on 100,000 uninvited
guests (literally) gate crashing their party.
Today, July 19, kicked off proceedings with a 70,000 strong march
through the town in solidarity with the millions of asylum seekers
getting universally-stiffed across fortress Europe. An international
soup of banner-waving, wall-tagging, trumpet-blaring, cop-taunting
anti-imperialistas meandered through the streets, giving Genoa's
multi-faceted police response the chance to air their newly painted
Meanwhile, as the Japanese PM touched down at Genoa airport, all
was quiet inside the forbidden Zona Rossa. Dark-windowed motorcades
monopolised the roadways save only for cop cars and camera crews.
Every entrance point is stalked by a sneering lynch-mob of gun toting
cops in Gucci shades and goatees. A four metre high steel fence
- set in concrete and nailed to the tarmac (listen up Mr Eavis)
- blocks all access points to the sacred sqaure mile where the world's
most powerful justice-dodgers plan to trough on marinari and the
misery of millions. Spooks stop and search those sneaky enough to
blag security passes like it's Derby day in Glasgow. No one walks
ten metres without getting a spin. Armoured cars, bulldozers and
scores of horses line the Via 20th Septembre, the main artery heading
straight for the Ducalo Palace (the conference centre). This is
the spot where every fucker in town knows the cardboard-covered
army of the Tute Bianche intend to make their entrance.
Meet The Players...
Unlike the Czechs faced with the World Bank meeting in Prague in
September 2000, the Italian resistance is more than ready for the
G8. But, outside the pages of the British mainstream press, don't
expect to get your head easily around the breakdown of the blockade.
The Genoa Social Forum, who sparked off the mobilisation for this
meeting, is a loose coalition of surprisingly varied forces. At
one end of the scale is the Jubilee, Drop the Debt reformist lobby
and at the other end is the militant Tute Bianche and COBAS (themselves
a coalition of street-fighting anarcho-syndicalist and marxist trade
unions). Despite all parties signing up (crossed fingers behind
backs stylee) to the GSF "No sticks, no stones, no fire,"
manifesto - it's well accepted that once the old bill start cracking
heads - anything goes.
Needless to say the organised anarchist groups massing in Genoa
have more self respect than to get involved with dubious liberal
coalitions and have stayed well clear of the GSF. Having said that,
unlike previous incarnations of similar coalitions, the GSF are
not dissing anyone else's tactical or ideological approach and everyone
on the streets seems happy enough to co-exist (so long as no one's
attack infringes on anyone elses). Of course, the SWP - here in
force to paint their name all over proceedings - are tolerated by
nobody except their French and Italian opposite numbers in the comically
titled 'Globalise Resistance'...
The White Overalls - or Tute Bianche - (remember Milan's Muppetmen
Ya Basta) who include well-padded crews from all over Italy have
decided er... not to wear the white overalls afterall - this is
because they've linked up with Social Center activists from Naples
and the COBAS militants to form a single attacking block. Having
said that, other COBAS contingents are linking with the anarchist
black blocks tomorrow (who have fallen out with the Tute Bianche
because of the hierarchical make-up and insistence in adherence
to the leadership's plans). They, the anarchists, are in turn joining
the not provocatively-violent-but-willing-to-defend-themselves-pink-block
(no relation to their Prague colour campeneros) for another fence
breach elsewhere. Confused? Well, let's hope the fucking beasts
As it happens though, the old bill's break down is equally mashed.
The local (municipal) police - answerable to the local left wing
government - are on the streets dressed identical to the state police
- answerable to the national fascist government. They are joined
by the paramilitary style Carabinieri, who's numbers include national
servicemen (no need to explain what kind of asshole becomes a cop
for a year to aid their country's well being). The Carabineri are
cruising round town in armoured cars completely sealed, but for
little holes to shoot people out of.
The normal police have got Brinks Matt style caged vans, and they've
all got helicopters and guns galore. Alongside them are the soldiers,
the navy personnel, the financial police, the forest (eh? - ed)
police and the secret servicemen - who, incidentally, spent the
last week posting letter bombs around the town in order to pump
up the air of tension. Milling in the crowd are badly disguised
undercover policemen carrying (get this) police issue crash helmets...
However, despite the forces lined up against them, and the daunting
task of busting down the barricades - beyond which undoubtedly lie
the world's most sophisticated personnel protection systems - the
liberators gathered in Genoa are in positive spirits. Despite the
cynics questioning their support, the 70,000 who marched tonight
are being continually joined by trainload after trainload of equally
dedicated comrades. The Italian authorities chose not to shut the
borders after all. A decision they may well live to regret. There
is a storm coming and this time it aint heading for bankers or bureaucrats,
this time it's the shot-callers on the slab. No more fucking around.
Leaders, it is time to meet your world.