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Police Raid Protesters' Headquarters

by Associated Press Monday, Jul. 23, 2001 at 3:26 AM

Police take into custody some members of the anti-globalization Genoa Social Forum, after raiding their center in Genoa, Italy, early Sunday, July 22, 2001. Police entered the school, where most of the activists were camping in search of incriminating material after Friday and Saturday's violence in the streets of Genoa. Dozens were arrested while ambulances carried away several other injured people after the raid. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Police Raid Proteste...
forum.jpg, image/jpeg, 450x358

Police Raid Protesters' Headquarters

By Alessandra Rizzo

Associated Press Writer

Sunday, July 22, 2001; 7:47 a.m. EDT

GENOA, Italy –– In a lightning strike, police raided protesters' headquarters Sunday in an effort to pre-empt a third day of street violence that has left one person dead and overshadowed a summit of world leaders.

During the post-midnight raid, police seized iron bars, baseball bats and bricks that they said had been used during the first two days of protests.

The Italian government said the Group of Eight summit cost 5 million – million for security and 0 million for refurbishing the city. Those refurbishments included restorations to the summit's main venue, the Palazzo Ducale, the port and the maritime station.

RAI state TV said 50 people were detained and 66 people injured, although police spokesman Mario Viola said many of those listed as injured had been hurt in the afternoon.

Officials with Genoa's Galliera hospital said 24 people were taken there after the raid, most of them foreign protesters. Seven were hospitalized.

Pope John Paul II, speaking from his lakeside summer residence, said Sunday he felt "pain and sadness for the hostility that erupted" at the summit.

"Violence is not the path to reach a fair solution to the current problems," the 81-year-old pontiff said.

The raid took place in a school just a couple of miles from the ancient palace where President Bush and the leaders of Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy, Russia and Canada had been meeting.

Bush was sympathetic to the concerns of peaceful protesters, such as calls for easing the debt burdens of poor nations, said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer.

Those protesters, Fleischer said, "couldn't have a better friend than George W. Bush and the United States. For the anarchists and those who are committed to violence, I don't think anything will appease them."

Authorities were on a heightened state of alert through the early morning hours Sunday. Police cars raced through cobblestone streets in the summit security area with sirens blaring. Officers formed a column in front of the summit site, some of them wearing gas masks and holding shields.

Calm had been restored well before the leaders entered into their meetings Sunday, but the city bore so many scars from the weekend chaos that Premier Silvio Berlusconi met with local officials and promised aid for a cleanup.

On one street in a prosperous seaside area, two banks, an insurance company and a travel agency had smashed windows, and four parked cars were torched.

"I've been through war, but this – this is just a shame," said Giuseppe Cardini, 82, as he surveyed a piazza filled with shattered glass and rocks.

Protester Michael Siefer, of Belgium, contacted by telephone by The Associated Press at the school, said police burst in and beat demonstrators.

Caroline Terzaghi, 38, a protest organizer who witnessed the raid, said police seized documents, videotapes of the demonstrations and computer files.

"They just went bang into the building – people screamed," Terzaghi said. "They made people lie on the floor, they beat us up, they were throwing computers around, they were hitting everyone. There was blood everywhere."

On Sunday morning the school was empty, except for a few demonstrators sleeping on the floor or in sleeping bags.

A sign, put up after the sweep, read: "Don't clean up the blood," which stained the wall and stairs of the three-story school.


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