Genoa: who are the protesters?
Matthew Tempest, political correspondent
Friday July 20, 2001
The British prime minister Tony Blair has dubbed them a "travelling circus of anarchists", but very few of the 10,000 to 100,000 protesters intending to demonstrate at the G8 meeting of the western industrialised nations in the Italian port of Genoa this weekend would actually describe themselves as "anarchists".
Instead, the 700 or so protest groups from around the world will be made up of trade unionists, anti-globalisation protesters, environmental campaigners, arms trade demonstrators, Kyoto supporters, third world debt agitators and a myriad of others. Probably including a few "official" anarchists from Spain and Italy.
Many more individuals will simply be at the conference of their own accord, to show their mistrust of national governments standing up to multinational corporations.
The final number of demonstrators will depend largely on two things: how many are turned away by the police force under Italy's new tycoon prime minister Silvio Berlosconi, and who is doing the counting - police tallies have a habit of halving the number of actual demonstrators.
Here are some of the main protest groups going to Genoa this weekend, a list which is far from exhaustive:
• Rallying point for anarchists and communists from Sweden, Ukraine, Italy, France, Spain and elsewhere. Does not reject violence as an option. Connected to Ya Basta and the Zapatistas.
Wombles - white overalls movement building libertarian effective struggles
• The white overalls, helmets and shin pads are a familiar sight from Prague, Seattle and Gothenberg.
• An umbrella group of anti-globalisation and environmental protestors. They organised a train to take 450 demonstrators to Italy, which was cancelled and then reinstated by SNCF following protests from UK and European politicians.
• Representatives from Green parties across Europe will be at the Genoa meeting, including Anna Bragga, Green party spokeswoman on globalisation, who will be writing a demonstrator's diary for the Guardian Unlimited politics site.
Ms Bragga said: "When 19,000 children are dying every day as a direct result of third world debt that could be cancelled tomorrow if only the G8 leaders had the will, it's important to make a stand in Genoa."
Drop the Debt
• The successor organisation to Jubilee 2000 will be at Genoa, campaigning to cancel the unpayable debts of the world's poorest nations. A petition signed by 24m people will be presented to the G8 conference.
• The Italian anarchists - the original model for Britain's Wombles - will be on home ground for this battle. Their name translates as "Enough, already!"
Destroy the International Monetary Fund
• Movement dedicated to abolishing the IMF by direct action. Links with the Wombles. Were at Gothenburg, Seattle, Prague and Quebec.
• The UK-based charity Christian Aid will be sending a delegation to Genoa by double-decker bus, to highlight the further action needed on third world debt.
• Climate change group, campaigning against abandonment of the Kyoto agreement, attending both the Bonn and Genoa conferences.