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News ::
Boston solidarity protest w/Genoa--two arrested
23 Jul 2001
Modified: 24 Jul 2001
At noon today at least forty protesters gathered for two hours outside the Italian consulate in Boston decrying the murder of at least one protester and the general brutality of the Italian police in dealing with protesters. Towards the end of the protest, two people were arrested for throwing red paint on the entrance to the consulate.
Boston Protest in Solidarity with Brutalized, Murdered Protesters in Genoa--Two Arrested

by Matthew Williams

Boston, USA; Monday, July 23, 2001--Even though it was pulled together on short notice and took place in the middle of a work day, at noon today at least forty protesters gathered for two hours outside the Italian consulate in Boston, decrying both the murder of Carlo Giuliani (and possibly more activists) by police during the protests in Genoa; and the general brutality of the Italian police in dealing with protesters. Towards the end of the protest, two people were arrested for throwing red paint--symbolizing the blood of protesters shed by the police in Genoa--on the entrance to the consulate.

According to Indy Media and other reports coming out of Genoa, hundreds of protesters, running from the Black Bloc to those sticking strictly to legal protest, were brutalized and sent to the hospital by the police; many were arrested and taken from the hospital while still needing treatment for their wounds. Italian police also raided the sleeping space used by many protesters and the Independent Media Center, leaving great pools of blood on the floor in the former and computer equipment smashed up in the latter. Reports coming from the prisons are of appalling conditions including torture--not to mention posters of fascist dictator Mussolini.

The protesters in Boston rallied round with signs, drums, noisemakers, and anarchist black flags. Chants included, “No G-8! Stop the police state!” and “Hey Berlusconi, your democracy is phony!” It was a diverse group, running from liberal to radical in their politics, but all were clear that solidarity was the most important thing.

There was certainly debate among protesters about whether Black Bloc tactics were the appropriate way to go. They placed the blame for the violence squarely on the Italian police and government though, not the Black Bloc. Mike Prokosch of United for a Fair Economy said, “Prior to this killing, the Italian authorities cleared a hospital to use for a morgue and brought in two hundred body bags. They knew that the next day--after [Giuliani] was killed--a hundred thousand people were planning to march on the summit. What better way to stop that march then to kill someone and put the burden on the organizers of that march to be responsible if more people got killed?”

Mark Laskey of the Sabate Anarchist Collective said, “I think it’s pretty clear that [the Black Bloc] has been pretty heavily infiltrated by the police. It’s not that hard to throw on a black mask and do whatever. There were even reports of Black Bloc people attacking Ya Basta! and other militants. They were pretty clearly infiltrated.”

Basav Sen, a member of BankBusters (an anti-IMF/World Bank group) and an immigrant from India, pointed out that Giuliani’s murder, “was not an isolated incident. Protesters against corporate globalization have been severely repressed and killed in large parts of the world. A little more than a year ago, one of the protesters in Cochabamba, Bolivia was shot dead by the Bolivian military; for years now people in the Narmada Valley in India have been protesting against World Bank loans and been shot and killed by the police there.”

Sen continued, “The fact that this repression is coming to the [Global] North today shows the amount of desperation on the part of the elite.” He also said for those of us in the global justice movement, “This means we need to be careful, all of us now are targets.”

Prokosch said, “I think [the elite] are clearly escalating. This is basically a message that they’re going to do whatever it takes to do maintain the status quo.”

Nobody, however, suggested that we stop protesting.

Laskey pointed out, “There’s always been violence associated with capitalism. It’s just coming up more prominently in Western countries now, but it’s always been there.”

The rally outside the consulate also included a piece of solo street theater, in which the performer quoted neoliberal New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist. McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the US Air Force F-15.” He then proposed a toast, using “old Mussolini wine in new Berlusconi bottles”, pouring a bottle of wine on the sidewalk in front of the consulate. After that protesters began chalking on the sidewalk, one of them drawing the silhouette of a body, accompanied by the words, “Carlo Giuliani, R.I.Resistance.”

A group of activists formed a delegation to try to gain entry to the consulate to ask them to lower their flag to half-staff in memory of their countryman killed by their own police. They were denied entry by the police guarding the consulate, who told them that the consulate was closed--even though people had been going in and out during the protest, and indeed one person was let in as the activists were talking with the police.

In the middle of this, someone threw red paint on the front entrance of the Italian consulate. Police arrested two people who ran away from the protest immediately afterward. (Unfortunately, the paint got on activists and consulate staff gathered in front of the building as well. The general agreement among protesters was that although the action was appropriate, it was poorly timed.) After some discussion, about half the protesters went to the jail where the arrestees were being held to bail them out; the other half remained in front of the consulate. Things began to get a little weird at that point as a police bomb squad arrived to investigate a “mysterious package” that had been delivered during the protest (although they didn’t evacuate the building). The paint-spattered consulate entrance and sidewalk was blocked off with yellow crime scene tape, creating quite a scene for passers-by to gawk at--but also stimulating them to ask activists what had happened.

The throwing of the paint and resulting police activity also brought out the mainstream media (who had been absent up to that point), eager to do interviews. Of course they were more interested in the paint getting thrown than the issues we were protesting. Hopefully some of our points got through in the interviews though. After the media left, the protest gradually dispersed.
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Great Article
23 Jul 2001
much better than the quick job i did. clears up a lot of misunderstandings from the first about the paint, and puts the events into context.
WHy cant i use the publish thing for video?
24 Jul 2001
Well i made a real video, its like 6 megs but the publish feature isnt working.

It wont let put it up in here, It's telling me that the post/put is too big. I lack a reliable server, if anyone wants to host a 6 meg file and a 50 meg divx, as well as an mpeg of unknown length contact me
2 arrestees
24 Jul 2001
The two arrestees were longltime local activists. They were held under an outrageous bail of $25,000 each and denied a bondsman. They have been delt absurd and inflammatory charges such as assault and battery on a police officer with a dangerous weapon, disturbing the peace,destruction of property and simple assault and battery. The denial of a bondsman forced the two to spend the night in jail and they will face court on Monday. Throughout the demonstration therre was an oppresive presence of plainclothes security personnel, snapping pictures etc...