International summits turn into armed camps. : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

Yet another example of the increasing us vs them mentality at work in international summitry. I personally find the trend extraordinarily disturbing for what it says so-called democratic governments are willing to do to advance globalization and corporate interests.

The Guardian

Europe puts up anti-riot barricades

Arrests embarrass furious Blair Genoa to shut down for G8 meeting European integration

Kamal Ahmed in Gothenburg and Faisal Islam in London Sunday June 17, 2001 The Observer

European leaders are to introduce Draconian measures to deal with the growing threat of violence from anti-capitalist protesters. They are bringing forward plans to stage all European summits in Brussels behind tough new security barriers.

And in an extraordinary response to the massive disturbances in Gothenburg, Sweden, the Italian government is planning to seal off the major city of Genoa for next month's G8 world economic summit, closing airlinks, railways and roads.

The plan follows the increasingly violent protests which have marred gatherings of international leaders since Seattle, and which left three people with gunshot wounds after riots in Gothenburg on Friday night.

Senior police revealed last night that an undisclosed number of Britons had been arrested over the riots, which caused millions of pounds worth of damage. Police and protesters fought pitched battles on the city's streets.

The disclosure that Britons were involved caused acute embarrassment to Tony Blair, who blamed the trouble on a 'travelling circus' of anarchists intent on violence.

As doctors battled to save the life of one of those injured after a second emergency operation last night, the Prime Minister condemned the riots: 'Peaceful protest is an essential part of democracy. Violent protest is not, and there is no place in democracy for an anarchists' travelling circus that goes from summit to summit with the sole purpose of causing as much mayhem as possible.'

He added: 'Their actions have nothing to do with anything other than a desire to cause violence that threatens the lives and livelihoods of innocent people. I would like to send the clearest possible signal that such protests must not and will not disrupt the proper workings of democratic organisations.'

The government of the new Italian Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is to shut down Genoa for four days in an unprecedented security crackdown on anti-globalisation protesters.

The airport, main train stations and key motorway junctions will all be closed from 18 to 22 July in an attempt to restrict access to tens of thousands of demonstrators who plan to converge on the city.

'The airport is shut to all civil and commercial air traffic. It sounds like a pre-emptive state of emergency,' said Dave Timms of the World Development Movement, whose flight to the city has been cancelled by BA.

Italian anarchist groups have vowed to wreak havoc at the summit, considered by more peaceful campaigners as a key deadline for delivery of international promises on debt relief and fair trade for poor countries. Anti-debt campaigners were told late last week that their flights had been cancelled or diverted to Turin.

'We can't quite believe it. There are certain issues regarding security, but we wouldn't have thought they were serious enough to close the airport,' said a spokesman for Ryanair.

Road junctions and train stations will shut with entry to Genoa restricted to a small number of access points, policed by the paramilitary carabinieri. Genoese working in the controlled zones near the conference centre have been told to stay at home.

Italian newspapers speculated that the main talks might be moved to a more secure venue such as a castle, or even a cruise liner.

The measures came as Swedish police revealed that a 40-year-old British man was among those being held last night. He was arrested at 9.30pm on Friday, suspected of being involved in violence.

It is thought that those held were among a 'hard core' of protesters from all over Europe. Police said Germans, Danes and Finns had also been arrested. In a series of statements, the European Union made it clear that there would be a 'fortress' approach to the next summit in Belgium in an attempt to kill off future protests.

After 2002 formal summits will only take place in Brussels where experience of dealing with protesters is much greater. Huge security cordons will be thrown up around the summit centre.

An emergency meeting of Home Office and Foreign Office ministers is to discuss new security measures with British intelligence services. Mr Blair said the riots had nothing to do with allegations that the EU had become detached from the people it was supposed to be serving.

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001

-- Cash (, June 18, 2001

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