From July 19th to the 22nd, the G8 of 2001 took place in the Italian city of Genoa. While the world leaders reunited in their private and safe offices, outside there was chaos. Various pacifist groups and no-global movements were protesting the 2001 Genoa G8. Italian law enforcement was aware of these protest before the international meeting even happened.
The police’s report
In fact, a report released years after the G8 showed that local police had identified the groups. Officers knew protesters were coming, both pacific and aggressive ones. Furthermore, the report identified aggressive tactics that these groups might use.
For example, the throw of fruit filled with razors or the throw of rotten fish. Plus, law enforcement believed the protestors might block railways or street, even launching balloons with infected blood. However, the report also included non-lethal actions by the groups, like using cameras to live stream the G8 protests worldwide.
Friday, July 20th at the 2001 Genoa G8
That’s when the violence began. Quickly, it spread to the entire city. At the train station, groups were throwing Molotov bombs against the Carabinieri, in the square Giusti a group was vandalizing a gas station, and the police responded with gas and by shooting in the air.
The facts of piazza Alimonda
Protesters gathered at the square, peacefully. To disperse them, the Carabinieri started throwing tear gas. During the crashes, trash bins were used to block the street and the vehicles. A Land Rover Defender stopped in front of one of the bins. From it, officer Mario Placanica opened fired. With his gun, he killed Carlo Giuliani. Then, hell broke loose. The officers attacked and beat the protesters and they managed to take control of the square.
In videos from the area, investigators saw Giuliani, who was moving towards the Defender with a fire extinguisher. Officer Placanica said he shot two times in the air and one of them accidentally hit the protester. Soon, everyone in Genoa knew about the killing.
Permission to shoot
Law enforcement kept using force in different parts of the city. Until Interior Minister Claudio Scajola order the officers to shoot on the protesters if they broke through the red and safe zone. Later, Sacjola would justify his decision with his risk assessment. The Minister said that protesters might commit terrorism acts against the participants of the Genoa G8.
Saturday, 21st and the Diaz assault
On Saturday, police brutality in Italy showed it colors. The Diaz school was both a dormitory and meeting point for peaceful protesters. Inside, everyone was living in peace. Then, the police decided to do a search. Of what and why, no one ever knew.
Over 90 people were inside Diaz, including press. Officers entered and started beating on the people, without any provocation. Journalists saw police carrying out wounded participants, one of them who had permanent physical and mental damages. Gianfranco Botta was the first journalist to enter the school after the “search” and his images show bloody walls.
So, did any of the officers pay for their actions at the 2001 Genoa G8?
When no one is responsible
In 2003, officer Placanica was acquitted for Giuliani’s death because it was a legitimate use of a weapon. Plus, it was legitimate defense. One inside a Defender, the other out on the street. Still, legitimate. On the other hand, three officers paid for the Diaz events, although the crime was making false statements and for not stopping the violence. The maximum sentence? Four years.
This also happened because Italy didn’t consider the crime of torture. So, officers beat innocent and unharmed people and there weren’t any consequences. Instead, 29 of the Diaz victims received money, the maximum compensation being euro 55.000.
The law against torture was approved in 2017. It was time, like it’s time to have more research on police brutality in Italy. And perhaps reports will show that cases like the Genoa G8 were the exception and not the rule. But perhaps isn’t good enough in 2021, especially to prevent the abuse of law enforcement.
! Warning, the following video contains disturbing images.