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Father of dead protester 'sorry' for policeman

by by Matthew Campbell and John Follain, London Monday, Jul. 23, 2001 at 6:26 PM

AS A second day of anti-globalisation protests erupted in violence in the Italian port of Genoa, the father of the protester killed by police said yesterday that he felt sorry for the man who shot his son.

"I feel great pity for the policeman who killed him," said Giuliano Giuliani, a Genoa trade unionist. His comments came on the day after Carlo, his 23-year-old-son, was shot as he attacked a police Land Rover. The vehicle had been cornered by protesters trying to disrupt the G8 summit of leaders from the world's main industrialised nations.

"I hope that he [the policeman] will realise . . . he made a mistake," Giuliani added, referring to the 20-year-old conscript who fired two shots. "But in fact those who made the mistake are the ones who placed him in a situation in which he had to shoot - the ones who sent unprepared officers into the streets. This carabiniere also is a victim.

"The violence was the work of a minority group to which my son does not belong, a group which was left free to commit violence."

Giuliani disputed police claims that the young officer had fired in self-defence. He said there was a big difference between the policeman's pistol and the fire extinguisher that his son had brandished.

Death that rocked the summit: police surround the body of Carlo Giuliani, who was shot in the head by a young conscript officer. Picture: Nick Cornish

An autopsy confirmed yesterday that Giuliani had been killed by a single gunshot to the head. He was already dead when the Land Rover reversed over him as its driver tried in panic to get away.

A demonstration yesterday ended with a minute's silence for Giuliani. A message from his parents was read out to protesters. It said: "We reject violence and demand that the values of peace and solidarity prevail so that Carlo's absurd death is not in vain."

The authorities charged 67 protesters with attempted murder and carrying "weapons of war" during rioting that continued to overshadow the summit. At least 150 people were hurt, adding to Friday's toll of more than 250.

Fighting between demonstrators and police broke out as a crowd of up to 100,000 people began marching along the Genoa seafront towards the palace where Tony Blair and other leaders were meeting. A few hundred protesters, angry at being blocked, hurled bottles and cobblestones at the police, who responded with tear gas and were denounced by the marchers as "assassins"

The government leaders appeared to agree last night that summits should be held on a much smaller scale in future. The Canadians, who take over the G8 presidency at the end of this year, are understood to be planning to hold the next one in July 2002 at a remote resort, probably in the Rockies, to reduce the risk of violence.

Some of the rioters retrieved weapons discarded by injured officers. Photograph: Nick Cornish

Yesterday's march, organised by an umbrella group that gathered together more than 700 anti-globalisation organisations, was the biggest in a series of protests that have dogged meetings of international leaders since the World Trade Organisation's summit in Seattle 19 months ago.

The death of Giuliani, an anarchist, had heightened tension and some protesters, intent on revenge, carried petrol bombs.

Even so, many protesters condemned the violence. Some marchers urged anarchists to hurl cloves of garlic at police rather than stones. "It is a contradiction to say you are an anarchist and then set fire to working people's cars and neighbourhoods," said James Fantazzi, 32, a telecom worker from Rome.

Claudio Scajola, the interior minister, confirmed that Giuliani had been hit by a bullet which, he said, was "presumably fired in self-defence".

This did nothing to silence calls from liberal politicians for the minister's resignation. Scajola was responsible for the extraordinarily rigorous security clampdown in Genoa where leaders, among them President George W Bush, were holding talks in the Ducal Palace.

Friday's shooting occurred as protesters were trying to penetrate the "red zone", an area surrounding the palace that police had been instructed to protect at all costs.

At the height of the fray, the police Land Rover became trapped outside a church. Giuliani, wearing a blue balaclava, was among a dozen protesters who scurried forward to surround it, hammering on it with metal bars.

He is said to have been living as a squatter in a derelict building in Genoa and, according to police, had convictions for weapons and drugs offences.

While his comrades banged on the bonnet, he went around to the back of the Land Rover and managed to pull out a fire extinguisher, which he held aloft like a trophy before being struck by the bullet.

The police officer was admitted to hospital in shock after the incident.

The vehicle's driver was reported to have panicked and, apparently unaware that Giuliani was in the road, to have reversed over the body before driving forward over it.

An officer who had been in the Land Rover leant against another vehicle, an expression of anguish clearly visible behind the thick Perspex of his mask. "We were trying to get out of there," he said over and over again.

A young volunteer nurse working with the protesters, said she had tried to revive Giuliani. "It was no use," she sighed. "He had a hole in the middle of his forehead."

Yesterday flowers and messages of grief marked the spot where Giuliani fell. The anarchists of the new millennium appeared to have found their martyr.

"I've known him for years. He was an ordinary kid," said Attilio Rattu, a young Italian yesterday. "Of course, he was no pacifist, but that's no reason to shoot him in the head."

Police said more than 3,000 weapons had been confiscated including hammers, axes, knives, catapults, chains and materials for making Molotov cocktails. About 500 cars were set alight on Friday.

The Third World campaigners Bob Geldof and Bono condemned the violence.

"I think that violence is never right," said Bono, the U2 singer. "But I think that anger is understandable when facing the obscenity of the ever-widening gap of inequality on this planet between the haves and the have-nots."

An anarchist grouping called Black Bloc, to which Giuliani belonged, was blamed for most of the trouble. It first came to the attention of police in riots in Seattle in 1999.

Followers carry black flags and iron bars and relish clashes with police. The group is said to be led by Colin Clyde, a 22-year-old American, but most of the 400 members who assembled in Genoa were German.

Giuliani's death appeared to have led police to take a more restrained approach yesterday, and they stopped making repeated baton charges.

Although tear gas was used they sometimes gave ground rather than risk more bloodshed and at one point several dozen riot police were seen retreating along a beach watched by bathers in bikinis, under a hail of stones from protesters.

A French protester died yesterday after she was struck by a car on her way to demonstrate in Genoa. Susanne Bendotti was waiting at a bus stop.

add your own comments


by Todd 11:50am Sun Jul 22 '01

I'm glad to see that the criminal element have been rightly charged with attempted murder... the moment you pick up a brick, swing a pipe or throw a pipe bomb, at anyone, you are trying to kill them. These criminals are not fighting for anyone else or for any cause, they are lawless and mindless, and must be put behind bars.

As Carlos' father said, "If the police were given more resources, the could have stopped the violence earlier" I agree that more police, and greater police powers (to detain/arrest people before hand and to confiscate weapons, goggles, masks etc.) may have prevented the problems.

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Todd, you're living in a nasty fantasy Excelsior Monday, Jul. 23, 2001 at 10:46 PM
more restrained? vincent bevins Tuesday, Jul. 24, 2001 at 3:15 PM
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