Trial For Genoan Anti-Globalization Riot Begins

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Italy is about relive two of its most shocking episodes of alleged police brutality as the trial of officers accused of illegal behaviour over attacks on anti- globalisation protesters proceed in Genoa.

The attacks occurred as the G8 summit of July 2001 in the port city was winding down after days of peaceful mass demonstrations by 200,000 people from all over the world, and violently anarchic protests by a small group known as the Black Block.

Today the trial begins of 45 police, carabinieri, prison officers and medical staff allegedly involved in the attacks at a transit holding camp. They include some of the most senior officers in the camp, and in the city. The charges against them include abuse of authority and unlawful violence.

On Friday, the case against 28 officers involved in the Diaz school raid resumes after a six-month break. Those on trial include some of the most senior police officers in the land. They are charged with trespass, false arrest, inflicting or authorising grievous bodily harm, and with inventing the story intended to justify the raid.
Paul Ginsborg, a historian of contemporary Italy, said: 'Really disgusting things happened in Bolzaneto, pure Fascist stuff. With the election of the centre-right government, and with the post-Fascist leader Gianfranco Fini as Deputy Prime Minister, certain elements thought they could get away with anything.'

But the victory of the police was short-lived. All the charges against those arrested were dismissed for lack of evidence. Months later it emerged that the police's prize discovery at the school, two Molotov cocktails, had been confiscated that afternoon from an unrelated locality, and planted by officers .

The prosecutor of the case, Enrico Zucca, has overcome many obstacles to bring the case this far. But now Dr Zucca fears that both may fail to come to judgement thanks to a new law now passing through parliament.

Nicknamed the 'Save-Previti' law, it is purpose-made, opposition MPs claim, to enable one of Mr Berlusconi's closest colleagues, Cesare Previti, to escape prison on a judge-bribing charge by cutting in half the statute of limitations as it applies to a whole raft of criminal offences.

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