Protester dies in G8 summit clash
July 20, 2001 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Protester dies in G8 summit clash A demonstrator has been killed amid clashes in the Italian city of Genoa where the leaders of the world's major industrialised countries are meeting for an annual summit.
posted by jbelshaw (155 comments total)
 
reports say, that a ~20 year old protestor attacked a police vehicle with a fire extenguisher, and was shot in the head.
posted by jbelshaw at 9:53 AM on July 20, 2001


fitting that the link to the right of the article is for CNN's special, "Urban Combat" section.

this sounds like it is going to get a lot worse...is there a link for the shot-in-the-head report?
posted by th3ph17 at 9:58 AM on July 20, 2001


The reporters are still unsure about the guy being shot, just that.
posted by cavedoni at 10:00 AM on July 20, 2001


The Shot in the Head link.
posted by jbelshaw at 10:02 AM on July 20, 2001


He has died.

I don't know what to say. Shot in the head , twice, for tossing a fire extinguisher at a van? Mussolini is smiling in his grave.
posted by mapalm at 10:04 AM on July 20, 2001


Necessary sites to read the real news about the protests:
(don't trust the corporate media - and notice that every article has a quote by BushII criticizing the protests)

Independent Media Center and
Independent Media Center - Italy
posted by panopticon at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2001


It must have been a eurovan
posted by tiaka at 10:11 AM on July 20, 2001


I thought Mussolini was creamated.
posted by tiaka at 10:15 AM on July 20, 2001


yes, of course. violent protest is absolutely necessary. god forbid if the mainstream media give both sides of an issue. So, in theory, protester A breaks through the "Red Zone", then what? its kinda like the concert goer who jumps up on stage. what are you going to do dance around until you get thrown off? I don't particularly believe a violent protest is helpful at all.

I am in general pretty neutral about this issue. Thats why I put 0 spin on the homepage link. Can someone explain to me how isolization is going to help the people in very poor countries?
posted by jbelshaw at 10:16 AM on July 20, 2001


The poor countries' representatives weren't invited to the G8 meeting. How do the eight richest countries know what's best for them?
posted by panopticon at 10:19 AM on July 20, 2001


What a surprise that the corporate controled media is just eating this up. MSNBC is interviewing some fuckhead from the Cato Institute who basically thinks that every city should be turned into a police state.

Fascism will triumph when good men and women do nothing.

Oh yeah, tiaka, I thought I told you to go screw yourself, you fascist piece of shit.
posted by dr. zoidberg at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2001


hanged and burned, tiaka, it's true...but the imagery was what i was aiming for.

and thanks, panopticon, for those links. good antidote to the reuters/ap/cnn corporate spin. (i especially love how the protesters are called "anarchists." what exactly does that mean? and how do they know?)
posted by mapalm at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2001


I want everyone to mark their calendars for September 28 - October 4th:
the World Bank and IMF Meetings in Washington, DC.
posted by panopticon at 10:24 AM on July 20, 2001


panopticon,

That is a good point. But, what exactly is the G8 deciding on? Trade agreements between themselv? Are they the Illuminatus? No one I know of knows approximately what the goal of these meetings are?
posted by jbelshaw at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2001


Photos of the dead kid

Some protesters do not want to isolate poor countries, they want to see them get

1. debt relief
2. a chance to develop on their own, rather than as subjagated markets for global corporations


some protesers are there because they see the threat to their own jobs, as multinationals fire people at home, to send jobs to countries where there are cheaper labor-laws.

Here in Seattle, K2-Skis announced they are closing down the factory that got them started, so they can send all the local jobs to china, for an annual savings of $7 million.

It's easy to be neutral about an issue that doesn't affect your pocketbook negatively. Most americans have enjoyed the consumer-benefits of the asian wage-slave-trade. They only complain when it's their job that gets sent overseas, not when they go to buy some product that was produced in a sweatshop....

Undoubtably, some protestors are just punks out for a jolly good row.

Interesting to note how all the american media reports are focusing on the violent protestors...you have to search, to find out that there's actually a large portion of the protestors specifically dedicated to non-violence (the white hands).
posted by nomisxid at 10:25 AM on July 20, 2001


Eek, I'm not joining in this one yet. My stance as regards this issue, as of right this minute, is on a recent thread about MTV's the Real World, of all things.

I will come back here when I know more about what is happening (its 3.20am here) by reading as many 'biased' and 'unbiased' sources (by whomsoever they are so perceived) that have had time to pore over the facts.
posted by davehat at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2001




Right, well, he got what he deserved.

Eeek. who's this dr.zoidberg troll? The name sound familiar somehow.. is he famous?

I'm anti-fascist. I'm have a slight socialistic lean, sure... but I still think that the peaceful protestors are doing the right thing. Better take your republican rhetoric elsewhere.
posted by tiaka at 10:31 AM on July 20, 2001


a very good friend of mine was an MP at a nato base in italy for five years. He has nothing but horror stories about the Carabinieri paramilitary troopers. Violence, beatings, shootings, you name it...
posted by th3ph17 at 10:32 AM on July 20, 2001


Right, well, he got what he deserved

tiaka: i trust that was tongue-firmly-in-cheek...

as for which protesters are "doing the right thing," it still doesn't absolve the Carbinieri from killing them.
posted by mapalm at 10:36 AM on July 20, 2001


Oh yeah, tiaka, I thought I told you to go screw yourself, you fascist piece of shit.

Unnecessary, dr. z. Absolutely unnecessary and uncalled for, and without place in MetaFilter.
posted by Avogadro at 10:38 AM on July 20, 2001


and hey, doc - aren't you a character on Futurama?
posted by mapalm at 10:38 AM on July 20, 2001


Now they have "witnesses" in Genoa saying on Foxnews that he wasnt shot, that it was a protestors rock that hit him in the head.... Wow, what a sharp, fast rock.
posted by Espoo2 at 10:40 AM on July 20, 2001


mapalm, huh? I was talking about Mussolini.
Ohh, yeah, Futurama, it was that lobster guy.
posted by tiaka at 10:44 AM on July 20, 2001


all clear, tiaka...thanks for the clarification.
posted by mapalm at 10:45 AM on July 20, 2001


On the rock thing - I'm no doctor type guy, but wouldn't a fatal head injury from a rock impact cause death by something like a hematoma or other internal injury? This guy has blood spilling out all over and he's wearing a cloth covering on his head. (see photos)

A sharp, fast rock indeed.
posted by lawtalkinguy at 10:49 AM on July 20, 2001


tio Pantoptican: you aregue that the poor were not invited as were the rich nations so how can they know what is needced. By that logic, a surgeon without a tumor ought not to operate because he doesn't have the tumor that the high school drop out has.
posted by Postroad at 10:55 AM on July 20, 2001


Btw, anyone else seems a bit annoyed at how the G8 is described? "The seven wealthiest countries in the world and Russia"

Heh.. I mean.. yeah, but it's like... 7 coolest kids meet in hall, russia tags along ruining all the fun.
posted by tiaka at 11:04 AM on July 20, 2001


a surgeon without a tumor ought not to operate because he doesn't have the tumor that the high school drop out has.

No, but wouldn't it be nice to involve that tumor-bearing high school drop out in the decision-making process? Excuse me, Kenya, but we're going to pull this tumor out of your head. Just be quiet and hold real still.

Do the small nations have any representation there, even if its not in the same capacity as the Big Eight?
posted by thebigpoop at 11:07 AM on July 20, 2001


Postroad - the surgeon arguably knows what's best for his patient (they take an oath and all that). the surgeon does not look out for himself.

that is not the case with the g8 - rich nations (and their elected representatives) are essentially run by (or for) corporations for profit with little consideration for anything else.
posted by panopticon at 11:11 AM on July 20, 2001


As always, CommonDreams has useful articles (even when they're culled from the NYT):

"Antiglobalization is not an adequate characterization of the protesters in Genoa (or Göteborg, Quebec, Prague, or Seattle). The globalization debate will remain hopelessly confused, in fact, unless we insist on qualifying the term globalization. The protesters are indeed united against the present form of capitalist globalization, but the vast majority of them are not against globalizing currents and forces as such; they are not isolationist, separatist or even nationalist."
posted by muckster at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2001


Lawtalkingguy, depends on the rock and where you got hit in the head. It's not uncommon for blunt force trauma to also tear the skin. The skin's kinda thin up there, and there are lots of small arteries and veins, even a small wound will produce lots of blood. I'll wait for the official report, because I can't plainly see an entrance or exit wound, and I'd sort of expect to see some facial deformation if he were shot- BUT, blunt force brain trauma doesn't usually drop someone motionless to the ground immediately; for him to have been hit in the head with a rock, I'd expect to see a much less neat pool of blood.

This disgusting forensic pathology post brought to you by the letters TLC and the number 0.
posted by headspace at 11:14 AM on July 20, 2001


"Genoa has been bracing for weeks against the kind of
violent anti-globalization protests that have disrupted nearly every major international meeting for the past two years. Surface-to-air missiles have been placed at the city's
airport to guard against any possible air attack."

surface-to-air missiles?????????
posted by rebeccablood at 11:15 AM on July 20, 2001


The person killed by a fellow rioter's rock is another one than the person featured in the linked photos, according to Italian TV-station Primo Canale.

As for the issue in general, I'm not too interested, as it seems it's only rabid socialists (the rioters) fighting moderate socialists (the G8 leaders. (Yes, you read right.)).

They can all go stuff their taxes where the sun don't shine for all I care, and appearantly that's exactly what they're doing right now. Let's get ready to (watch them) rumble!
posted by dagny at 11:16 AM on July 20, 2001


I understand why the protesters are there and why they are protesting. Why are they destroying shop fronts, cars, etc.? What does this prove? There is not many excuses for killing one (or more) of them, but I ask again; Why destroy the property of local Genoans?
posted by internal at 11:19 AM on July 20, 2001


I wouldn't call George Bush II a moderate Socialist.
posted by panopticon at 11:24 AM on July 20, 2001


internal: you need to separate between professional rioters and "traditional" protestors here. Now, the rioters are only out to destroy other people's property. The protestors are out to do the exact same thing, but they want to vote in favor of it first. Big difference. Or at least so they claim.
posted by dagny at 11:24 AM on July 20, 2001


postroad >>By that logic, a surgeon without a tumor ought not to operate because he doesn't have the tumor that the high school drop out has.

That's a rather smug comparison, don't you think? Is it no wonder that Americans are often accused of arrogance and parochialism in their approach to foreign policy?

I'm of the view that the Third World is better off without our "help" (or more precisely: without "assistance" from the World Bank, Western governments etc). Unconditional debt cancellation is the only intervention that would seem to have a chance of doing any good for the poor. Beyond that, I think the libertarians here will agree that global institutions like the World Bank and IMF -- which are, after all, impediments to "free trade" -- have no moral or economic basis.

Helpful reading: The Scorecard on Globalization 1980-2000
posted by johnb at 11:26 AM on July 20, 2001


jbelshaw - . Can someone explain to me how isolization is going to help the people in very poor countries?

Not to say that isolationism is called for (or that I am in league with the protestors) but one big problem of unrestricted global trade is that free markets, capitalist markets, only reach efficient allocations of commodities with regard to initial allocations. So if me and you are on a desert island and I you have two pieces of bread and I have 10,000 gallons of water, ignoring humanitarian impulses, I could trade you a pittance of water for one of your pieces of bread, and ultimately, I'd remain with 9,999 gallons of water and a piece of bread, and you'd be screwed.

In the global economy, the idustrialized nations posess infrastructure, educated, skilled workforces, and systems in place to maximally exploit the intrinsic value of their (in many cases) copious natural resources. The third-world nations lack these things. If total free trade is allowed with no aid or regulation, then it will allow corporations from industrial nations to trade almost nothing for the one asset these people can trade for goods in the global marketplace: labor. This is what is happening now.

I don't mean to argue for the protestors (I think the violence is abhorrent, the whole tone of the movement, if you can identify any one movement, is sickening) but this, IMHO, is a major problem facing all free-market systems.
posted by jeb at 11:27 AM on July 20, 2001


dagny - what about the black bloc, etc? They claim that they have a goal other than property destruction (though it's hard to understand amidst all that smashing), but that the way they achieve it is through "direct action" or "diverse tactics" meaning the destruction of private property.

Is your nick an Ayn Rand reference?

Also, anyone have a link to that photo of the kid smashing the niketown window with his nike?
posted by jeb at 11:30 AM on July 20, 2001


so far, noone can exactly tell me what the agenda in this conference is that will affect the small, poor, less powerful countries of the world.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:34 AM on July 20, 2001


I think that one important issue is the concern that "globalization" may be just a modern term for "colonialism" except without even the nominal investiment that colonialism engenders.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:38 AM on July 20, 2001


jeb: great explanation. so what would be an alternate solution? I ask, because it seems that having a clothing manufacturer in some small country is better for those people than not having that job at all. The workers may not be getting paid $5.25 an hour, but their cost of living in orders of magnitude lowere than ours. I do think countries based in the US should be held accountable for the same safety standards, no matter where thier factorys are.
posted by jbelshaw at 11:41 AM on July 20, 2001


jeb: By the black bloc, do you mean anarchists that support "direct democracy" (e.g. acceptance of two-against-one violence)? If so, they're pretty much part of the huge group of people who support the initiation of force to make others comply with their agenda.

Now, I don't care if such people are more than me (so they can vote me down, e.g. democratic socialists) or stronger than me (so they can kill me; anarchists in the black bloc). To me and my health, they're all the same, and the sooner they're stopped, the better.
posted by dagny at 11:44 AM on July 20, 2001


From the BBC

Several hours after the incident, the man's body was still on the ground at the city's Piazza Alimonda, surrounded by police confronting protesters who chanted their contempt.

The police were gloating is the first thing that comes to mind.

Protesters dressed in black started fires, smashed windows, looted shops, broke into banks and post offices and pulled up cobblestones to hurl at the security forces

Oh, they were wearing black were they, oh that makes them the bad guys. Oh, they were "hurling" rocks, oh neanderthals too.

Where's a good media theorist when you need one. Any chance of some dead babies?
posted by fullerine at 11:45 AM on July 20, 2001


jbelshaw - The G8 is comprised of the eight richest nations in the world, which control an overwhelmingly large proportion relative to population of the total global wealth. Many people believe that it is these nations' moral responsibility to faciliate a more equitable redistribution of their wealth. At this summit, they will discuss treaties, aid packages, trade relationships, and monetary policies that will affect the global flow of assets in a profound way, since they control the lion's share of these assets. This is of great interest to poor nations.

Specifically, modifications to the IMF and World Bank were added to the agenda some months ago. These are the organizations that purport to prop up collapsing poor economies, but protestors feel they do more harm than good. The changes made in these organizations at the Summit are of great interest to the protestors and poor nations.

Most specifically, the protesters want debt poor countries owe to rich countries canceled. Being that the debt holders are all there, this is the place for this kind of policy to be enacted.
posted by jeb at 11:46 AM on July 20, 2001


fullerine: The fact that they were wearing black is not irrelevant. There is a well-known anarchist group known as the Black Bloc, previously mentioned by jeb in this very thread. Would you have reacted similarly had they mentioned that the Tute Bianche were -- shock! horror! -- wearing white? As for "hurling", which euphemism would you suggest we use instead?
posted by dagny at 11:50 AM on July 20, 2001


dagny: I mean this Black Bloc.

Also, Fullerine, that may be why the media pointed out that they were dressed in black. It may not have been confirmed that these were BB members, but their being dressed in black is an important part of the story as it shows possible allegiance/membership/empathy to BB positions, and the BB has been a major symbol/newsmaker in all of this.
posted by jeb at 11:52 AM on July 20, 2001


jbelshaw - regarding better solutions, I'm afraid I don't have much to offer. I like your idea about the safety standards. Things like that, legislation in rich countries to force certain standards of manufacture on companies that wish to import could be good. I have to think about it more.

One thing I like in this case is unionization. I think a lot of these college kids would better serve their cause by going to places where, say, Nike has a factory, and organizing massive unions. First get fluent in the native language, then start rallying. Obviously, there are huge problems: local gov't strong arm tactics, Anti-labor-organization moves by the company, but if it's priviledged educated college kids doing this, the media pays attention. It may even be dangerous, but personally, I'd rather die for organizing a union of Nike workers than for tossing a fire extinguisher at a police car, which is about the most pointless gesture I can think of.

The reason this is important is that unions function like monopolies and normally, these things damage economic systems. But, in this case, since the workers have so little to trade, it seems like if there was a strong enough group, in an established country, they could institute massive work stoppages. If the people involved kept this high-profile enough, the companies would be powerless to hurt them. Also, the company will have so much invested in infrastructure and the comparative costs of doing things in the first world will financially discourage a relocation of operations, so it should be possible to demand dramatically higher wages. Honestly, the company could still have ridiculous margins and these people would have some major wins.

I also like the idea of the government taxing manufacture of goods by american based companies abroad heavily, with the express purpose of funneling that money directly back into the local economy. You want to build shoes in El Salvador for $1 a piece? You have to give the government a dollar, and it goes back to building a school or something in El Salvador. Granted, this hurts us at home. Tough luck. Someone has to pay.

In a more general sense, I like the idea of more heavily taxing all wealth and somehow redistributing it to even the start positions. The way I see it, even if you are a libertarian or conservative who feels that your intrinsic merit gained you your money, that it's because you were smarter and harder-working that you became rich, not because you were born to the right family, what right then do you have to wealth? You still lucked out in the abilities allocation, and consequently, the fruits of your greater abilities should help those with lesser abilities (I happen to think this is bunk, and that opportunity/environment is 99% of the difference, but that's my argument for the others, and either way, the responsibility is the same in common morals).
posted by jeb at 12:03 PM on July 20, 2001


Devil's advocate:

Why is violent protest wrong?
posted by solistrato at 12:10 PM on July 20, 2001


Panop: The poor countries' representatives weren't invited to the G8 meeting. How do the eight richest countries know what's best for them?

Questions: Are the G7+1 meeting to decide what the world should do or what their collective policy should be? Is there anything keeping other countries from former the F12 or whatever? I'm not defending any position. Just curious (and deeply saddened by violence and death).
posted by Dick Paris at 12:12 PM on July 20, 2001


[I wouldn't call George Bush II a moderate Socialist]

Given the education bill and faith based initiative plan he's supporting I would.
posted by revbrian at 12:18 PM on July 20, 2001


Reuter: A total of 62 people had so far been injured -- 30 members of the security forces, 28 demonstrators and four journalists.

More policemen than demonstrators..... and four journalists.
I'm sad.
posted by nonharmful at 12:18 PM on July 20, 2001


Back in the 60s and 70s, the CIA infiltrated the Black Panthers - their undercover operatives inspired and enacted extreme violence - the goal was to dissolve/discredit their movement by alienating/scaring the "common folk."

There was talk about the same thing happening with the Earth Liberation Front, but when these riots happen I can't help but think that the same thing might be happening here.
posted by panopticon at 12:22 PM on July 20, 2001


solistrato: Assuming by "violent" you mean "property-destroying", here are some reasons (there is also "life-destroying", but to me, there are obvious problems with that. Maybe not)

It destroys property. That just sucks people's work out of the marketplace. The whole economy loses.

It hurts people who you have no quarrel with, for example, the storefront owners.

It hides your message in noise. Violence is very seductive. It makes headlines, but the headlines are of the variety, "Stuff Was Destroyed!", not "Stuff Was Destroyed Because A Group of People Feels That There Are The Following Problems in The World". It's almost like a character-assassination on your own message. This also hurts non-violent protestors with the same message, because theirs is less likely to be reported when there's all that violence.

It also opens the movement behind a message up to a whole new type of attack: "They're just rioters. They're just angry young men. They just want an excuse to destroy stuff and loot." Controversial causes have enough problems without bringing these on.

Okay, okay, I'll take a break from posting unless directly addressed. Sorry.
posted by jeb at 12:26 PM on July 20, 2001


Tin soldiers of Bush are calling....We're finally on our own....
posted by brucec at 12:27 PM on July 20, 2001


[[I wouldn't call George Bush II a moderate Socialist]
Given the education bill and faith based initiative plan he's supporting I would.]

I disagree. When Clinton tried to bring Universal Healthcare to the states, the Republicans tore it apart. Bush II would never ever ever support free, quality healthcare/education for all. The faith-based initiative is handing money over to the religious organizations that helped him get elected - it's a tit-for-tat, not socialism.
posted by panopticon at 12:28 PM on July 20, 2001


it's a tit-for-tat, not socialism.

Heh.
posted by dagny at 12:37 PM on July 20, 2001


Off protest topic. If you think GWB is a socialist that is a reflection...no wait, I almost took the bait.
posted by chrismc at 12:47 PM on July 20, 2001


From the live reports I saw, the police in Italy were way out of line. Infact, they clubbed a BBC reporter with a truncheon! Yet another place where the police's effect ends up magnifying the cause?
posted by wackybrit at 12:59 PM on July 20, 2001


They drove over the dead kid?

This is horrifying, and it makes me believe what th3ph17 says about the Italian police. They didn't even try to get him to a hospital. They didn't even remove his body from the sight of the other protesters....they used him as a f@#*ing speedbump.

Now, I think violent protest against the forces of capitalism and globalization is both counterproductive and extremely immature (...let's go break stuff!!!...yeah, that'll show 'em). But DAMN this is callous. I hope somebody gets charged for this, even if just for manslaughter.
posted by thewittyname at 1:11 PM on July 20, 2001


Devil's advocate:

Why is violent protest wrong?


Devil's Advisor:

If violent protest is acceptable, then why is violent supression wrong?
posted by RevGreg at 1:36 PM on July 20, 2001


[Bush II would never ever ever support free, quality healthcare/education for all. ]

Which would make him a moderate.

[The faith-based initiative is handing money over to the religious organizations that helped him get elected - it's a tit-for-tat, not socialism.]

I don't care what his motives are, it's still socialist in my book. I have sort of an odd socialist bent myself so I support some of it, I just think it's socialist.

Personally I wish they didn't have the tax dollars to give away in the first place. A tax burden that made sure every person of the world had food to eat and shelter from the elements wouldn't bother me. As for the rest, you're on your own in my book.
posted by revbrian at 1:36 PM on July 20, 2001


Damn, thewittyname. You beat me to it.

So I'll just say it again. ;) This photo is horrible. Not only are they driving over the body, I think I see the gunman in the backseat.

Very sad.
posted by jragon at 1:44 PM on July 20, 2001


I find it interesting, how all the news reports are tyring to point out the "good" of a 1-2 billion dollar AIDS fund. Of course they neglect to point out that probably 75% of that money will go back into the coffers of multinational drug companies, because they won't allow nations to produce generic versions of the AIDS cocktails for anything less than catastrophically outrageous prices.
posted by nomisxid at 1:49 PM on July 20, 2001


I don't care what his motives are, it's still socialist in my book.

This is a semantic mess. Socialist eh? I certainly don't see Bush calling for the government control of means of production or some Marx middle ground. Its laissez-faire all the way to the bank and woe to those who stand in the way, like this poor Italian kid.
posted by skallas at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2001


good point nomisxid - according to the CDC, there are an estimated 36 million people with HIV/AIDS. The proposed $1 billion dollars divided by 36 million people = a grand total of 27 dollars.
posted by panopticon at 2:06 PM on July 20, 2001


[I certainly don't see Bush calling for the government control of means of production or some Marx middle ground. ]

Perhaps you might profit from reading the entire thread again and take the comments in context.

[Its laissez-faire all the way to the bank and woe to those who stand in the way, like this poor Italian kid.]

Poor italian kid? If I crossed a police barrier and chucked a 30# fire extinguisher at a police vehicle the least I would expect is a severe beating. Shooting him is over-the-line but it isn't so extreme that it shouldn't have been envisioned by the poor italian kid before he acted. What was he expecting, a cold beer and some autographs?
posted by revbrian at 2:09 PM on July 20, 2001


I like what jeb is saying. I think that the violence at these protests takes away from what could be a much more persuasive argument. In line with the college kids going to organize unions in foreign countries, why not organize a sort of grassroots marketing campaign to the other college kids? I mean, they're going to have a tough time convincing Dubya to change his mind, or even some buisnessman with international investments. Why not go and talk to the kids that want to be buisnessmen? Figure out what it is that prevents the larger mass from seeing the things that the protesters do. I mean shit, if you can sell them an $18 Brittney Spears CD and two tickets to Scary Movie 2, it would seem that convincing them that an argument people are so emotional about would be possible.
posted by Sellersburg/Speed at 2:11 PM on July 20, 2001


CNN's Alessio Vinci is now reporting " the violence was caused by a limited faction of anarchists, who came to the Meditteranean city not to protest over the G8 summit, but solely to fight the police"

If this kid was part of this group then he might have found what he was looking for. If he wasn't, he sure picked the wrong place and time for act like an ass.
posted by revbrian at 2:30 PM on July 20, 2001


The fact that you understood the reference to black uniforms means that the writers have done their job. The whole BBC piece is a tour de force of media spin. The whole tone is anti-demonstrator without actually saying it is ant-demonstrator.

Police shoot and kill an unarmed protester and then drive over the body.

This becomes..

An anti-capitalist protester in his 20s has been shot dead in clashes with police.

He was shot dead in clashes with police not by them but whilst clashing with them. Fair fight and all that.

Look, I know the protestors are not the good guys and I know that the police have a tough job. But they shot a kid in his 20s and ran over the body. They left the body where it lay for a few hours. They did this to protect property. I don't like being force fed the idea that this is no big deal and he sort of deserved it.
posted by fullerine at 2:32 PM on July 20, 2001


(mussolini pinata) 'BORGIA Summit I.'
posted by clavdivs at 2:33 PM on July 20, 2001


Force fed, fullerine? Come on.
posted by dagny at 2:39 PM on July 20, 2001


pulled up cobblestones to hurl at the security forces...

Reminds me of the French 1968 rebellion slogan, "Under the cobblestones, the beach" or "Sous le pavé, la plage."
posted by Mo Nickels at 2:46 PM on July 20, 2001


If I crossed a police barrier and chucked a 30# fire extinguisher at a police vehicle the least I would expect is a severe beating.

And if you threw a fire extinguisher at my car would you fault me for beating to an inch of your life? Thought so. The point is this isn't acceptable force and inhumane attempts at "crowd control" are inexcusable.

Also, I'm still interested in hearing how BushII's Republicanism is suddenly socialism. Sounds like pedantic name calling to me.
posted by skallas at 2:46 PM on July 20, 2001


[Sounds like pedantic name calling to me.]

I like the guy, I voted for him. I don't think that moderate socialism is a bad thing.
posted by revbrian at 2:58 PM on July 20, 2001


[And if you threw a fire extinguisher at my car would you fault me for beating to an inch of your life? ]

No. If I was stupid enough to do that, I would expect that was one of the possible outcomes.
posted by revbrian at 2:59 PM on July 20, 2001


If you believe in "an eye for an eye," you would presumably accept a police response that involved throwing a fire extinguisher at the protestor's car. Not to be a bore, but there is a big difference between throwing an object at someone else's object, and shooting someone in the head.

Since I last checked, it's generally not acceptable for police forces in a 'civilized' country to shoot unarmed people. Period.
posted by D at 4:11 PM on July 20, 2001


I spent 2 years going to souther Italy to a forward deployment base for the Bosnian debacle for 6 weeks at a time. Italy has police, and then there are the Carbinieri. Don't mess with the Carbinieri. We were told that in no uncertain words.
I would think that it be important to know your opposition if you planned on protesting something. Some prior research on this poor guys part may have saved his life.
It is very unfortunate that all these meetings are getting violent. Seattle, Quebec, now this. I hope it doesn't get worse, but I am very pessimistic, so I plan on it getting worse.
posted by a3matrix at 4:15 PM on July 20, 2001


Here is a very simple way for the protesters to ENSURE that they will not be beaten, arrested, harrassed, tortured, or killed: Stay the f**k away from Genoa (or whatever place is hosting next G8 summit or World Bank meeting). Don't agree with the policies or agendas issuing from these meetings? Then do something *constructive* to advance your agenda, "constructive" meaning articulating your principles and beliefs - newsletters, public-access shows, letters-to-the-editor, running for office, even standing on a streetcorner handling out flyers, etc.
posted by davidmsc at 4:16 PM on July 20, 2001


Simply said... Violence begets violence. He started it, the police escalated it. Think of it as karma, but that kid has no one to blame in the end but himself.
posted by revbrian at 4:38 PM on July 20, 2001


Hey, do you guys know if he was run over intentionally, or accidentally?
posted by ktheory at 4:43 PM on July 20, 2001


If you believe in "an eye for an eye," you would presumably accept a police response that involved throwing a fire extinguisher at the protestor's car.

So, how does that work?

"Uhm, excuse me sir, we don't seem to have a fire extinguisher with us at the moment so we're borrowing yours, and, oh yeah, where did you park?"

Since I last checked, it's generally not acceptable for police forces in a 'civilized' country to shoot unarmed people.

When I last checked 'civilized' people did not behave in the manner that this buffoon throwing the fire extinguisher did either.
posted by RevGreg at 4:45 PM on July 20, 2001


it's generally not acceptable for police forces in a 'civilized' country to shoot unarmed people.

The only reason he was unarmed was because he had already used his weapon (the fire extinguisher). He had already demonstrated that he was violent; the police didn't know what else he might be armed with. Their reaction was understandable, which is not the same as saying it is excusable.

The real take-home from this incident, though, is that the radicals have a martyr now, which will only serve to make them more insufferable over the next few years. Regardless of the degree to which you sympathize (or not) with their goals, this outcome certainly won't increase the world's fun quotient.
posted by kindall at 4:49 PM on July 20, 2001


Italy has police, and then there are the Carbinieri. Don't mess with the Carbinieri. We were told that in no uncertain words.

i keep coming back to this because i think it is important...they are not normal police. Known to be a little trigger-happy. Lots of ego...the types that would shoot because they Want To, not because they Need to. Wounding a protestor is closer to defence. Shooting someone in the head who isn't shooting back at you is an Execution.
posted by th3ph17 at 5:21 PM on July 20, 2001


[Shooting someone in the head who isn't shooting back at you is an Execution.]

Really? Couldn't charging a group of notoriously volatile Carbineri and chucking a metal cylinder at them be construed as suicide? I think we should put this guy in for a darwin award.
posted by revbrian at 5:30 PM on July 20, 2001


Hey, do you guys know if he was run over intentionally, or accidentally?

They run over him because the Carabinieri car had to move backwards to get away. You can see it in this photo. Therefore I'd say it was intentional (they could have moved him before moving the car).
posted by sja at 5:36 PM on July 20, 2001


Here's a link I HIGHLY suggest you to visit:
Indymedia.org

It provides independent coverage (even if with some bias) of events like G8 clashes. If you, like me, don't even listen to biased reports you should look for revealing images
and videos that sometime show on indymedia.

That done..here's a report from a friend of mine who is in Genova now among the peaceful protesters.
He emailed me to let me know what's really happening.

--------------

Some clashes between police and some radical guys , probably black blocks but I really can't tell. A lot of trash bins burned, some cars are burning. The GSF (Genova Social Forum) people demonstrated peacefully. You could
see them hitting the barricades with empty bottles of water. When one demonstrator entered in the red zone, police simply told him to back off and he did without causing any problem. That's proof there are peaceful protesters here. People look happy. Some dude hits on the barricades with foot but it's not like he's really into breaking the thing.

Tute Bianche group are ready to go. They don't have their white dress on, as they announced. I followed them
because I wanted to see if they really were going to break
into red zone. After a little while we met police, that's normal tute bianche announced they were going to try to break in. Some people look frightened, somebody is crying slongans. There's a burned car on the course, and one dude points out tute bianche didn't burn that car. Later I see that moment again on italian tv.

We keep going on our course but some idiot starts throwing stuff at the agents. Police charge ! God they are scary and mean looking. I decide it's not worth having my face smashed and I retreat a little ; I haven't go any protection I don't want to take any risk. Tute bianche are retreating and really are confused. I see more black smoke in the air and decide it's unsafe to remain there, plus police doesn't seem to care if you throw stuff or not, they just charge.


I finally reach my friend's house. I zig-zagged between many other protest groups. God you know beirut ? It looks like Beiruit ...I saw three banks with shattered windows and one was on fire too. Five, six cars were burning and countless trash bins. Police was a problem too because they were charging everywhere..then retreating..then charging again. a total mess believe me I'm lucky I reached my home safely. A girl was sobbing uncontrollably and had a lot of blood on her face. There was a bad smell in the air, irritating..I think it was tear gas. I approached her but she was too scared and didn't want any help. I think she was under shock or something. Luckily for her some GSF medic was not far away so I called him and he took care of her.

I turned on tv to see what's happening. Apparently a guy was runned over by police, but then tv showed a few revealing pictures. You could see a police jeep with a masked guy throwing a fire extinguisher at them and a man inside the jeep pointing a gun at him. He probably shoot him because they were attacked by him and other masked guys. Shit I wonder what protesters are going to do after that. Tv also shows police guarding the body and shouting " you killed it with a rock, bastard" at one dude who was yelling "assassins" at police. Then police charged the dude who escaped. I think it's a cover-up because they first said the police accidentally runned over him with the jeep, and now they're saying a rock. Blue-wall situation I think.

Hey dude situation here is shitty. Local tv reports that more protesters were arrested when retreating. Many of them are now in the stadium from which they started the march. People is being arrested when it leaves the stadium. Copters are everywhere. TV now blames the Black Block for all the confusions and harm done. I dunno if it was black block or some other group but I swear, I was there, there were a lot of peaceful protesters and some of them were also charged without a reason. Guess police lost control of the situation. Police also used some kind of tanks, they looked like the ones used in Vietnam to move soldiers but they were painted all blue and with a kind of earth moving blade soldered on their front. Man, tanks ! Fuck it's really beirut here.

I don't think I'll go protest again tomorrow I'm too scared and I want to come back home in one piece. I don't want some crazy policeman to smash my head. It's weird you see compassionate policeman helping people and other pigs hitting girls and boys and they seem to LIKE it. I hope they will be sent straight to jail , but you know..blue-wall is hard to break. Luckily media was there and some abuse was taped.

Shit man , I feel like cheated. Everything was going smooth and then mofos started throwing things at cops.

----

UPDATE

Italian indipendent media reports that an austrian girl was also killed during a police attack by a tank. TWO deads.
posted by elpapacito at 5:38 PM on July 20, 2001


[Shooting someone in the head who isn't shooting back at you is an Execution.]

Just playing Devil's advocate here, but if you're a policeman and you're in that car, can you KNOW that he's not about to blow you and your friends to pieces??

blunt force brain trauma doesn't usually drop someone motionless to the ground immediately; for him to have been hit in the head with a rock, I'd expect to see a much less neat pool of blood.

Actually, it looks not unlike what happened to me when I was hit by a bottle thrown at my head while breaking up a fight. All I remember is the world going black and losing control over all of my skeletal muscles. Witnesses said that I dropped to the floor like a boneless chicken and blood started pouring out. Looked just like this albeit with slightly less blood because there were nice people there who weren't rioters and knew to put pressure on the wound...

So in theory, I for one am not ruling it out, but you're right, it was probably a bullet.
posted by fooljay at 5:45 PM on July 20, 2001


Here's a link I HIGHLY suggest you to visit:
Indymedia.org


If you think there's anything impartial about Indymedia, you are just as deluded as folks who believe Fox News Channel.
posted by owillis at 5:55 PM on July 20, 2001


Anyone who is a member of Stratfor recieved this early this morning...

"The disposition of police forces in Genoa is more hostile
than at the 1999 WTO meeting in Seattle... The G-8 summit will be surrounded by some the worst protester violence and police abuse ever seen at a global summit. ... Italian police and army units will defend the (Red Zone) wall with water cannons, tear gas, live ammunition... Demonstrators of all stripes will suffer extraordinary injuries this weekend ... "
posted by revbrian at 5:56 PM on July 20, 2001


Owillis just look at the pics/video/audio and drawn your own conclusions. Can you do that or you're among the ones who need pre-digested information ?
posted by elpapacito at 5:57 PM on July 20, 2001


it was probably a bullet

This kind of discussion is obsolete. The photographer wrote a very detailed description of what has happened and even Italian authorities have admitted the guy was shot by the Carabinieri. (I only have links in Italian: A and B). Besides, you can see it clearly enough in this sequence of photographs (click on 'La sequenza della tragedia').
posted by sja at 6:00 PM on July 20, 2001


[carabinieri] are not normal police. Known to be a little trigger-happy. Lots of ego...the types that would shoot because they Want To, not because they Need to.

Really? I'm in Italy and I wasn't aware of this. It could be me, but do you have reliable sources? Just to make sure... Carabinieri are often joked upon for not being brilliant, but since they are part of the military they probably 'behave' more than the police does.
posted by sja at 6:13 PM on July 20, 2001


when in history have the rich ever been willing to open their coffers wholeheartedly for the betterment of all of us?
posted by sighofrelief at 6:23 PM on July 20, 2001


I'm not taking sides (all of the violence sickens me and pisses me off), but I do want to point out that if I had been in this vehicle, I'd have been pretty scared.
posted by swerve at 6:42 PM on July 20, 2001


"the violence at these protests takes away from what could be a much more persuasive argument"

that's one view. and personally, i agree with that one. but not everyone feels this way, there are some (maybe not all of them, but some) who purposely and strategically break stuff... i think disagree, but it is actually thoughtful and logical. see previously linked to article written by some of these protesters.
posted by raedyn at 6:50 PM on July 20, 2001


if I had been in this vehicle, I'd have been pretty scared.

That's what I'm thinking. You're in the middle of a hotzone. People are mauling the vehicle from all sides. You don't know if someone with a gun is about to come up and shoot inside the vehicle

Then you see this. In all the chaos, you have no time to figure out what he's holding. It could be an incendiary device. All you know is that he's coming towards the vehicle quickly and with an object that, at very least, looks to be of healthy size and weight.

Perhaps people are screaming around you, making your thoughts harder to process rationally. Maybe you're being beaten in the side of the head from the passenger window.

All I'm trying to say is that cops have a very very difficult job to do. It's extremely easy for us to sit in our offices and play choppy socks, pretending what we might do if the situation happened. It's very different, I think, being in it.

This is not to say this is how anything happened. The policeman who busted him may have been laughing and waving goodbye. It's just that we don't really know, do we?

The media is good at one thing: showing that which elicits emotion.
posted by fooljay at 7:02 PM on July 20, 2001


sighofrelief: when in history have the rich ever been willing to open their coffers wholeheartedly for the betterment of all of us?

Point 1. Every time that they donate millions of dollars to charity and pay hefty taxes that help support society.

Point 2. Why do I get the feeling from your very brief post that you believe "the rich" have some sort of duty to "open their coffers wholeheartedly?" If you do believe this, then what about the nearly-rich? The almost-nearly-rich? The middle-class? The upper-poor-class? Who, in your opinion, must be made to open their wallets for "the betterment of others?" Of course, if I am wrong about your attitude, please forgive my questions.
posted by davidmsc at 8:39 PM on July 20, 2001


choppy socks

I think you have a good point, fooljay. We don't really know what happened there but we feel the tragedy the same.

And I REALLY want to know what choppy socks is. And perhaps more importantly, does it hurt?
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:48 PM on July 20, 2001


The only reason he was unarmed was because he had already used his weapon (the fire extinguisher). He had already demonstrated that he was violent; the police didn't know what else he might be armed with. Their reaction was understandable, which is not the same as saying it is excusable.

I agree that it was inexcusable.

Demonstration of violence is not enough to warrant deadly force. It really depends on the weapon. If he had brandished a gun, that might have warranted returning fire.

All I'm trying to say is that cops have a very very difficult job to do.

You paint a flattering picture, for the cops anyway. One could easily present an equally flattering picture for the protester:

"the masked police approached. Everyone knew they had live rounds in their guns. ____ reached for the only means of defence nearby – a fire extinguisher. As a last-ditch effort, he threw it towards the oncoming police. All of a sudden -- "

It's all spin. They shot an unarmed man. The important question is, who authorized deadly force?
posted by D at 11:56 PM on July 20, 2001


The important question is, who authorized deadly force?

Who knows, although from memory I heard a report that the italians had been preparing for these "riots" for weeks.

I saw some video of the riots on TV, I watched as a women in her 20s [who didn't even look like the "typical" anti-global protester] run from the crowd and was surrounded by about 8 police who started to beat her with their battons.
Then I saw images of protester with the fire extinguisher being shot with the newscaster claiming that this was "the anti-globalization movements first matyr". [From the images I saw I'm not even sure if he if fact get the chance to throw the extinguisher].

After seeing the report I was outraged.
posted by X-00 at 2:06 AM on July 21, 2001


If he had brandished a gun, that might have warranted returning fire.

"Might"?
posted by matteo at 2:09 AM on July 21, 2001


According to a friend of mine, the policeman who shot and killed 23-year old Carlo Giuliani is now charged with murder.
posted by dagny at 3:41 AM on July 21, 2001


davidmsc: no one has any duty to anyone. go ahead and do whatever you want. but if an entity enters into some kind of agreement or whatever with the expressed intent of helping people and not saying anything about their own agenda involved, i think that's a crock of shit. especially when that agenda is in no way fairly beneficial to both parties involved.

and yeah, i'm sure it really matters to bill gates (or whatever walton) to give away those millions of dollars they don't want to pay tax on. they are really making a sacrifice because they believe in equal wealth distribution.
posted by sighofrelief at 3:44 AM on July 21, 2001


More photos (not nice photos, obviously)
posted by holloway at 3:54 AM on July 21, 2001


More photos (and not nice photos, obviously)
posted by holloway at 3:54 AM on July 21, 2001


i'm sure it really matters to bill gates (or whatever walton) to give away those millions of dollars they don't want to pay tax on

It sure does matter to those who receive them.
posted by dagny at 4:03 AM on July 21, 2001


If anybody else enlightens this discussion with turdwurd about "we need rich people to fund charities" I guess I'll go ahead and die laughing.

Just as funny are the hollow calls for "constructive" action. Yeahright. Streetcorner flyers are really gonna rattle the worldhive drones and clones who are IV-lifejuiced by the status quo.

And the status quo is what these people really call into question. Shots are being fired across the luxury cruiser's bow. And not by weary downtrodden rabble. And not by rabid socialists. Mostly by an energized, restless youth who just atavistically don't fuckin' like the way things are.

Maybe birth-luck and serendipity aren't the best ways to award a Porsche - maybe we should use knife-fights instead. Now see that hits a 10 on the Gatsby fret-meter, and tends to get plantation owners thinking about ways to placate.
posted by Opus Dark at 5:20 AM on July 21, 2001


Just as funny are the hollow calls for "constructive" action. Yeahright.

In the long-run, "constructive" action gains a far more realistic chance of effecting change than anything that these protesters are doing. These street-riots serve no purpose other than perpetuating the stereotype of addled-mind, rag-tag protesters with nothing in mind to replace the "status quo" that they so vehemently despise. As much as I disagree with the muddled aim of these protesters, I would have far more respect for them, and be more willing to consider their agenda, if they DIDN'T engage in meaningless riot-inspiring activities.
posted by davidmsc at 6:12 AM on July 21, 2001


As much as I disagree with the muddled aim of these protesters, I would have far more respect for them, and be more willing to consider their agenda, if they DIDN'T engage in meaningless riot-inspiring activities.

Boston Tea Party, anyone?

Oh, that was meaningful, wasn't it? At least to those indiscriminate destroyers of capitalist property, protesting against the power of transnational institutions.

It's a classic irregular verb: we are defending our rights; you are rag-tag protestors; he is being buried on Tuesday after the post-mortem comes through.
posted by holgate at 7:19 AM on July 21, 2001


Please be aware. There are those who are there for a fight, and there are those who are not there for a fight. Some times their causes are the same. I still do not know the motives of the dead protester, perhaps I never will.

Tarring, brushes, sadness. I have read many pieces of news, yet I can say no more. My fundamental principals remain unchanged though. I am a pacifist, and ever more shall be so.
posted by davehat at 7:31 AM on July 21, 2001


holgate:

I'm no history major, so correct my history if I'm wrong. But it seems to me that your comparison of the riotous behavior in this case to the Boston Tea Party is misguided and poorly thought-out.

The Boston Tea Party was an organized demonstration of principal. The "Indians" (led by Samuel Adams) harmed no one, destroyed ONLY the tea, and then left peaceably. This should be obviously distinguishable from the present case, in which rioters and demonstrators are physically attacking guards, indiscriminately destroying nearby property (despite the fact that the owner's only crime is to have the misfortune to be near the convention), etc. It's important to recognize the difference between a deliberate, controlled assertion of rights and angry, self-righteous destruction of random property.

Note: I'm not arguing that the protestors do not have a good cause in this. I'm not well informed enough to have a position on the protestors. I'm just saying that, if my knowledge of history is correct, any comparison to the Boston Tea Party is clearly unjustified.
posted by gd779 at 7:45 AM on July 21, 2001


Besides, the Tea Party was a protest against government oppression, e.g. taxes. The socialist activists in G8 want higher/more taxes, and hence the comparison is even more unjustified.

Force against oppression = self defense. Oppression through force = despicable.
posted by dagny at 7:53 AM on July 21, 2001


Timeline: When an Italian police car was attacked by protesters and appeared to reach a dead end, a protester jammed a board into the car as others attacked the car and/or the occupants with metal signs and other objects. Carlo Giuliani, one of the protesters, picked up a fire extinguisher and attempted to throw it to throw through a broken rear window at a cop holding a gun. He fell to the ground after being shot and the police car backed up and ran over him then drove back towards more riot police.

If the pictures accurately depict what took place, I'm not surprised the police in the car responded with force. It appears they were cornered and outnumbered at the time the shooting took place. I don't know what Giuliani thought he was accomplishing, but throwing a large metal object at armed police in an unstable situation is incredibly foolish.
posted by rcade at 8:54 AM on July 21, 2001


It's completely justified, dagny, even if that involves challenging cute Revolutionary History. The underlying motivation for the Boston Tea Party was the monopolisation of trade by a few companies: and it's those ties between corporatism and colonialism which made it the grandaddy of all globalisation protests.

As for the "peaceable" protest: well, high-school history is national myth, and once you look at the documentary sources, the rose-tinted spectacles come off pretty quickly. From an eyewitness account by one of the participants:

Another attempt was made to save a little tea from the ruins of the cargo by a tall, aged man who wore a large cocked hat and white wig, which was fashionable at that time. He had sleightly slipped a little into his pocket, but being detected, they seized him and, taking his hat and wig from his head, threw them, together with the tea, of which they had emptied his pockets, into the water. In consideration of his advanced age, he was permitted to escape, with now and then a slight kick.

And from Anne Hulton, a loyalist, on the assault of other loyalists:

He was stript stark naked, one of the severest cold nights this winter, his body covered all over with tar, then with feathers, his arm dislocated in tearing off his clothes. He was dragged in a cart with thousands attending, some beating him with clubs and knocking him out of the cart, then in again. They gave him several severe whippings, at different parts of the town. This spectacle of horror and cruelty was exhibited for about five hours.

So if you think that the people in Indian garb were all there out of pure Patriot virtue, rather than to say "fuck you" to the merchantry, you're somewhat mistaken. Extrapolate to Genoa, and ascribe labels of "force" and "oppression" according to taste and political sensibility. Same as ever, really.
posted by holgate at 9:03 AM on July 21, 2001


< peeve >

Principal: Person in charge of the local high school, or otherwise acting as a representative of an organization.

Principle: A value or ideological standard.

< /peeve >
posted by davidmsc at 9:21 AM on July 21, 2001


Fullertine : the people dressed in black were probably the anarchist group who seem to be present at all these anti-globalization rallies.... they were the same people who broke the windows in Seattle.
posted by Satapher at 9:31 AM on July 21, 2001


The Boston Tea Party was a protest against a government granted and government enforced monopoly given to a foreign company by an occupying government. More than a little different than being upset that Starbucks opened across the street from your favorite coffee shop.

And Holgate, you convince no one by attempting to conflate events that your own sources show were not a part of the tea party.
posted by NortonDC at 9:34 AM on July 21, 2001


holgate:

Nice dodging there. But let's consider the facts:

By your account, the worst crime committed during the Boston Tea Party was either A) an older man who resisted was kicked several times (but not seiously harmed) and thrown into the water or B) the destruction of the tea (whichever you prefer). Once again, I assert that there is a clear distinction between that situation and the present case. You didn't see the "Indians" randomly burning houses on their way to the ships, they didn't destroy the ships, and they didn't hurl large, blunt objects at the merchants or the King's agents without provocation. They weren't unruly, and they weren't out of control. They were there to give substance to their protest by physically destroying the object of their objection, they did that, and then they left. They were peaceful and they didn't riot.

And they weren't there to say "fuck you" to the merchants, as you mistakenly assert. They were there to oppose the KING and his TAXES. Merchants were only involved because, at the time, colonial merchant activity was directly involved with the crown. (Trade with the colonies was directed by the King in order to serve England, etc, etc.)

As to Anne Hulton, nobody ever asserted that people weren't tarred and feathered during the revolutionary war. Surely you can draw a distinction between conduct that is permissible during a peace-time protest and conduct that is common (perhaps justified, but also perhaps not justified) during war time.

I don't mind that you believe that the protesters are justified. Maybe they are, I don't really know. I don't even mind if you want to draw a parallel to the Boston Tea Party (though I will continue to disagree with you about that, I think). But do try to go beyond simple argumentation and show some intellectual honesty about what you're saying. Think critically about it first.

Sorry about the rant. Accuracy and, above all, objectivity (or a perceived lack thereof) are pet peeve's of mine.
posted by gd779 at 9:36 AM on July 21, 2001


dagny >>The socialist activists in G8 want higher/more taxes....

I would be surprised if any of the "socialists" are in Genoa to commit direct action ("violent" or otherwise), rather than to participate in the G8 talks themselves. The anarchists, on the other hand, are no doubt on the streets, but they're certainly no fans of "higher taxes" (kind of hard to advocate both abolishing government and increasing funding of it at the same time)

Holgate - bravo!
posted by johnb at 10:21 AM on July 21, 2001


I'm sorry for the following post but I'm drunk......

But we have a well armed and well armoured police force shooting a protestor in the face, running over the body and leaving it where it lay for a few hours.

Which part of wrong are you misunderstanding?

I know the police have a difficult job (half my family are policemen/women). But they should behave at a higher standard than us.

Why?

Because we give them guns and the power to tell us what to do.

However evil the protestors are, however frightened the police were, they could have shot him to wound him. He was a few feet away and he was shot in the face.

He was executed.

Bollocks to politeness, but a kid lies dead in a Genoan town and the leaders of the world talk about anarchy and an end to this 'mindless violence'.

At which point does opening a new Starbucks become more important than life? At which point does the almighty dollar become so important that we must ignore the destruction of our planet/way of life/freedoms.

I may be a bleeding heart liberal, I may be drunk but isn't it obvious who the bad guys are?
posted by fullerine at 10:41 AM on July 21, 2001


Oh, and Holgate for President
posted by fullerine at 10:42 AM on July 21, 2001


I know that for the FBI the policy has been that firearms are always considered deadly force and are therefore only used to kill. To these standards, every shot fired is intended to kill. There is no shooting to wound (shooting to maim, really) because using deadly force in a situation that doesn't call for it wrongly endangers the participants.

A man, a 23 year old man said to have "a long criminal record that included weapons and drug charges" lies dead in a Genoan town, fullerine, after he was shot in the act attacking men who were present to protect others, shot by men under attack from a violent mob.

Forgive me for not starting up the beatification proceedings.
posted by NortonDC at 11:05 AM on July 21, 2001


Norton for President!
posted by gd779 at 11:10 AM on July 21, 2001


I second gd779's motion...and proudly nominate dagny as the Vice-Prez.
posted by davidmsc at 11:13 AM on July 21, 2001


However evil the protestors are, however frightened the police were, they could have shot him to wound him. He was a few feet away and he was shot in the face.

They also could have been dragged from the car, seriously injured by the objects protesters were jamming into the vehicle, or harmed in any number of other ways. The fire extinguisher could have exploded.

From the Washington Post: "Demonstrators in black ski masks set upon a stopped police vehicle. They jumped on the roof and smashed the windows with crowbars. The young officers inside were screaming, in pain, terror and fury, witnesses said."

I think it would be great to live in a world where 20-year-old cops are super-human and can "shoot to wound" like the Sundance Kid. It would be even cooler if the cops had telekinetic powers and the protesters were mutants who had banded together to protect a society that hates and fears them.
posted by rcade at 11:24 AM on July 21, 2001


a 23 year old man said to have "a long criminal record that included weapons and drug charges

his criminal record is irrelevant, since the shooter would have no way of knowing it at the time; what is relevant is what happened at the time he was shot--his actions, the actions of the other protestors, and the actions of the police.

rcade: From the Washington Post:
thanks, rogers. it's going to be hard to get any good information about G8, for sure.

if any of us want the whole story of what happened here, it's going to require careful, openminded reading of lots and lots of news sources: corporate news sources and independent/alternative media alike, both approached as openly as possible. given that we're going to be getting highly spun accounts from both sides, this is going to take real discipline.

there are plenty of other issues connected with these protests to be passionate about. seems to me that we can discuss them more clearly if we're as accurate and dispassionate about the events as they happen.
posted by rebeccablood at 11:46 AM on July 21, 2001


Kafkaesque:
We don't really know what happened there but we feel the tragedy the same.

Absolutely. I hope no one took my post to mean that I didn't feel some horror that it happened. I do. I just don't think we should compound it by attempting to draw conclusions which may be very very wrong.

And I REALLY want to know what choppy socks is. And perhaps more importantly, does it hurt?

It can. :-) Slang for martial arts. You know how people sit around and say "If I was attacked by someone, here's what I'd do." And then they enlist their friends to be the attacker and use some move that they've seen in the movie theatre. The reality is, when you're attacked, best laid plans go flying out the window and you react on instinct alone. Sometimes that instinct is to wet oneself... :-)

You paint a flattering picture, for the cops anyway. One could easily present an equally flattering picture for the protester

Someone already did. All throughout the media and this thread. I'm playing Devil's advocate trying to make people realize that there are always two sides to every story and that the truth rarely lies at either end.
posted by fooljay at 11:49 AM on July 21, 2001


Well said, rebecca!
posted by fooljay at 11:50 AM on July 21, 2001


NortonDC wrote:
government granted and government enforced monopoly

Hmm, sounds like the RIAA/MPAA. Can we protest now!? ;)
posted by fooljay at 11:53 AM on July 21, 2001


rebeccablood, his alleged record is relevant to the question my post was a direct response to, which read, in part, "I may be drunk but isn't it obvious who the bad guys are?"

fooljay, I know you're joking, but still the government didn't grant that monopoly. Maybe if Major League Baseball was the topic of discussion...

(yes, MLB is specifically excluded from antitrust enforcement by Congress)
posted by NortonDC at 11:57 AM on July 21, 2001


Accuracy and, above all, objectivity (or a perceived lack thereof) are pet peeve's of mine.

Cheap comment, but greengrocers' apostrophes are one of mine.

Anyway, gd779, you're trotting out high-school history. The target of the Tea Party (and I quote from the State Department website, should you wish to complain about my sources) was the East India Company, and behind Sam Adams and his political agitators lay the domestic merchants, who'd grown wealthy on smuggled tea from Holland, In fact, the motivation for the shipment was the reduction in excise duty, which led the East India Company believe that it could drive out the illegal trade and save itself from bankruptcy by dumping its stocks on the colonial market. (Not dissimilar to the state control of liquor and tobacco around the world these days.)

Monopolistic, yes. Worth protesting about, yes. An act done out of some virtuous belief in colonial rights, hardly. In fact, the Tea Party was one of the more entertaining protests: in other ports, East India Company agents were "persuaded" to resign and send the shipments back to Britain. As a symbolic act, it had plenty in common with those who picket NikeTown or smash the windows of McDonald's. And had the colonial insurgence been put down, it would have gone into the history books as a pointless act of vandalism carried out by a bunch of rag-tag protestors.

In essence, I'm not arguing the ethics of what's going on in Genoa, but rather the presentation.

NortonDC: and Lee Harvey Oswald was a quiet loner with a dubious past. Welcome to mainstream media.
posted by holgate at 12:11 PM on July 21, 2001


All things said, great "beat" articles here from The Nation.

How can a comparison between The Boston Tea Party and current anti-global-commercialization protests be said to be not objective and innacurate? Boston Harbor was not skirted with anti-aircraft missles, tanks, riot squads and for that matter hordes of media. Holgate's point is that we are so very kind to those quaint "fables" of patriotism and valor that happened so long ago. Progress didn't end there. Think history as dynamic and has everything, everything to do with the present day. Therefore, there is no difference between anti-corporate protests today, in masse, and the storming of the Bastille. Save, that innacurate muskets can be safely rated G for general audiences.
posted by crasspastor at 12:12 PM on July 21, 2001


Or, to be more theoretical, you can only judge "constructive" action in hindsight, based upon what is constructed. And sometimes actions can be immediately destructive, yet regarded as "constructive" towards a greater end: think of the township violence in South Africa in the decade before multi-racial elections.
posted by holgate at 12:16 PM on July 21, 2001


there is no difference between anti-corporate protests today, in masse, and the storming of the Bastille

You seem to have confused economic power with force, crasspastor. Starbucks can offer me a product, and I'm free to take the offer or turn it down. Call me back when the same applies to the government's -- uhm -- offers.
posted by dagny at 12:22 PM on July 21, 2001


holgate, did the bias of mainstream media fabricate the sequential pictures of Giuliani attacking the police and then being shot in the act? Or did your own prejudice lead to discounting the damning evidence laid out by rcade?

And which of the McDonald's windows smashed was paid for with money extracted via a government granted and enforced monopoly, holgate?
posted by NortonDC at 12:24 PM on July 21, 2001


I'm speaking of what we hold dear via history and that which we disqualify today as extremism, dagny. That's it. . .
posted by crasspastor at 12:35 PM on July 21, 2001


NortonDC: I'm not judging whether he "deserved" to be shot.

My point is that mainstream media generally doesn't like complexity. That's why the leader of Reclaim the Streets was described as a dangerous anarchist by the tabloids in May. That's why it's easy for the papers to dredge up the past in order to blacken reputations. Criminal records don't earn you the right to be shot at point-blank range. He could have been Timothy McVeigh, and that wouldn't make the general behaviour of the Italian police any less worthy of criticism, nor would it make the general behaviour of those who came to Genoa looking for a fight any less worthy of condemnation. As rebeccablood said, all is spin. And I'm re-spinning the Boston Tea Party to show how events do get spun.

To follow what crasspastor said: is it unreasonable to describe the Boston protest in 1774 as one that was generally peaceful, with regrettable fringe violence, against monopolistic, unaccountable institutions? (And gd779, was the situation in 1774, before the Coercion Acts, "war time"? Hardly.)
posted by holgate at 12:52 PM on July 21, 2001


holgate: I still don't buy your Tea Party analogy (mainly because the East India Company, in my understanding, was as much a part of the government as it was a business as we would think of business today, but also partially because I still see a significant difference in the methods used). At the same time, however, I can whole-heartedly agree with the main substance of your last post. The media does not like complexity, and it often does a very, very poor job of portraying complex issues. And I'll second Rebecca's call for a careful, openminded reading of a variety of sources.

Further, I'll admit that there are some very, very valid reasons to hold the police to a very high standard of conduct (because we give them guns and the right to tell us what to do). But my gut reaction here is that, when you physically attack a group of cornered policeman in what you know is a volatile situation, you assume the risk that you're going to be hurt or killed. Is an investigation warranted? Absolutely. But I don't understand the outrage at this point. I'm also saying nothing new here, so I'll just let it go at that.

I further assert that it is not acceptable to destroy the property of a completely uninvolved third party. Rioting of this nature is abhorrent, and should be condemned. I imagine that many people here that support the protestors would feel differently if it were their homes, businesses or property being destroyed simply because the G8 chose to meet nearby.

And, lastly, the "wartime behavior" argument was addressed to your "tar-and-feather" argument, not to the Boston tea party.
posted by gd779 at 1:06 PM on July 21, 2001


is it unreasonable to describe the Boston protest in 1774 as one that was generally peaceful, with regrettable fringe violence, against monopolistic, unaccountable institutions?

No, that is not an unreasonable description. However, to use that description to compare the Boston Tea Party to the current situation is, I think, to over-simplify things. The only "regrettable fringe violence" you've shown in the Boston Tea Party is the one man who was kicked and thrown into the water for resisting the "Indians". Am I missing anything? Please correct me if I am wrong. Certainly, there was no rioting, no indiscriminate destruction of property, and no uncontrolled attacks of violence against authority figures (they restrained the people on the boat and presumably threatened people at the other cities, and they left peaceably when they were through.)

I'm not one of those people that feels the need to make superhuman hero's out of our Founding Fathers. They were exceptional men, but they were also often profoundly flawed men. But I still think that it's clear that the current situation in no way mirrors the Tea Party. It's just my opinion, though. I could be wrong.
posted by gd779 at 1:18 PM on July 21, 2001


gd779: The example of tarring and feathering took place in January 1774, a month after the Tea Party. Other shipping agents were intimidated. The Stamp Act encouraged further assaults. Even then, it wasn't a war footing.

mainly because the East India Company, in my understanding, was as much a part of the government as it was a business as we would think of business today

Oh, I'd disagree. As its history outlines, the success of the Company undoubtedly served a wider political end in a climate of colonial expansionism, but it certainly wasn't a government agent in the American colonies, and only became one in India itself after the rotten, gung-ho expansionism of Robert Clive. It was more along the lines of "what's good for the East India Company is good for Britain." Especially if the alternative was losing an export market to the Dutch.

And which of the McDonald's windows smashed was paid for with money extracted via a government granted and enforced monopoly, holgate?

Not McDonald's, perhaps: but the government enforces taxation on tobacco and alcohol to prevent smuggling and protect domestic production, yes? And the Tea Act's tax break to support a domestic trade isn't that dissimilar to Jesse Helms' shilling for Big Tobacco, nor is the culture of the East India Company dissimilar from the modern export processing zone.

One good thing that may have come out of Genoa is that Jean Chrétian is on record as saying the G8 should scale down their annual meetings. The tendency in recent years has been for the host country to put on a lavish junket, in which the superficies -- the family photographs and the banquets -- are more important than the issues at stake. So if next year's Canadian summit deliberately shuns the gloss of Berlusconi's Genovese palazzo, it may help avoid some of this polarisation between the red zone and the real world outside.
posted by holgate at 1:49 PM on July 21, 2001


holgate: Not McDonald's, perhaps: but the government enforces taxation on tobacco and alcohol to prevent smuggling and protect domestic production, yes?

No, you've got it backwards. They prevent smuggling to enforce taxation.

And the Tea Act's tax break to support a domestic trade isn't that dissimilar to Jesse Helms' shilling for Big Tobacco

Protectionism, while frequently odious, is a long way off from having the government grant a single company a monopoly and use it's occupying military force to enforce that monopoly in a distant colony.
posted by NortonDC at 2:14 PM on July 21, 2001


This will be my last comment here, just to link to a good American account, written in 1877, of the colonial resistance to the East India Company in 1773, and how the attempt to impose an economic settlement ("for men will always go to the cheapest markets") ran slap-bang into the patriot opposition, most of whom valued principle over price.

I wish I were closer to a research library, just to see how the events in Boston were reported in the English newspapers.
posted by holgate at 2:14 PM on July 21, 2001


Thanks for your comments, holgate. Like I've said before, my grasp of history isn't necessarily the strongest. And while, even after reading your sources, I still think that there may be some ground to oppose your conclusions, the fact remains... I understand your position better now, and I know more than when this discussion started.

And, in the end, that's why I love MeFi.
posted by gd779 at 3:21 PM on July 21, 2001


fullerine: Bollocks to politeness, but a kid lies dead in a Genoan town and the leaders of the world talk about anarchy and an end to this 'mindless violence'.

The leaders of the world didn't shoot the kid. The nice man on the television told me a policeman did.

At which point does opening a new Starbucks become more important than life?

He shot the kid to open a Starbucks?! JESUS CHRIST, WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?
posted by gleemax at 4:38 PM on July 21, 2001


"Boston Tea Party, anyone?

Oh, that was meaningful, wasn't it."

The Revenue act would seem a more fitting analogy when referring to violent protest from governmental and corporate collaboration. The seizure of Hancocks' (booze shuffler) ship, 'Liberty' (locked people in the hold like keystone kops)and similar events led to a little event called the Boston Massacre. It wasn't the seizure of the boat, the price of the tea, the cost of some war(protection?) It was getting personal, the laws to enforce any sort of taxation. Vox Populi.

"Don't mess with the Carbinieri." This is a fact. some police just dont like to have to where the helmets. sister-in-law got a degree in Italy(before the peanuts are tossed, her father defended accused during HUAC), she agrees, the police have no tolerance for mobs, and little for people who protest.
posted by clavdivs at 5:12 PM on July 21, 2001


"rioters and demonstrators are physically attacking guards," i don't think we can really blame either the protesters OR the police for this. both are guilty of it in spades. who started it? who knows? who cares? it's not like the gaurds are standing by innocently undefended and sitting down and taking it. [not to say that i expect them to, but we must admit that neither side is innocent in this] "indiscriminately destroying nearby property" there is a group that is targetting specific properties according to their own agenda. there is nothing indiscriminate about it.

"Surely you can draw a distinction between conduct that is permissible during a peace-time protest and conduct that is common (perhaps justified, but also perhaps not justified) during war time." perhaps so. however, to many of those protesters, though their eyes, this IS war. a war that is being waged upon the world's people by large corporations and the governments that kowtow to them. their response is one of a people being attacked by those who are supposed to protect them : their own governments. it doesn't matter if you agree or not, though their own perspectives they ARE justified.

not all people in the colonies agreed with and supported the protestors at the Boston Tea Party, etc. but since history is written by the winning side, in American culture those Founding Fathers are heroes, who were right in all their deeds. in the current challenge of the status-quo, the victors are yet-to-be-determined, therefore we do not know if history will paint the protestors as heroes, martyrs & visionaries or as rowdy fringe groups.
posted by raedyn at 9:40 PM on July 21, 2001


raedyn
to many of those protesters, though their eyes, this IS war. it doesn't matter if you agree or not, though their own perspectives they ARE justified.


Baader Meinhof in Germany, Red Brigades in Italy were all convinced that they were fighting a war. Timothy McVeigh was sure about that, too.
posted by matteo at 5:51 AM on July 22, 2001


With all of the noise and violence around them and the adrenalin within them, one kid tried to heave a big metal canister at a kid who was holding a gun, so a kid shot a kid.

Violence is always bad. Don't participate in it. Never take a job that requires you to be armed, either with a gun or a rock. If you're part of a protest (on either side of the barriers) that starts to turn violent, walk away. Go home.

If you truly think a company is evil and must be shut down, and you are convinced that legal channels will not work, then hit it where money is exchanged for goods, in your hometown, but with no physical violence against people. Maybe release a few hundred specially raised cockroaches, or pour a few gallons of extremely foul-smelling liquid on to whatever is hardest to clean. Would you waste your lunch hour at a place that was regularly like that? I'm sure other people can come up with much better ideas than these. Just make sure that no one gets a rock or a bullet in the head.

And, unlike marches in distant cities against people you will never get close to, direct local action at and around the cash register has an effect. If you want to hurt people, there are many ways to do it and all of them are easy, even for the stupidest people. But try to be smart and good and effective, and do something that isn't going to leave you or someone else bleeding.
posted by pracowity at 5:57 AM on July 22, 2001


pracowity--maybe Carlo Giuliani would have benefitted from your advice, but the policeman that shot him "was a 20-year-old drafted into Italy's Carabinieri," so he it sounds like he didn't have a whole lot of choice about being there. Additionally, as he was in the back seat of the truck he probably did not choose the course of action that ended up with him surrounded by attackers and with his truck nose-in to a wall.
posted by NortonDC at 10:01 AM on July 22, 2001


a kid shot a kid

False. Both of the individuals involved were adults. The protester was 23 and the police officer who shot him was 20. These are not kids.

Violence is always bad. Don't participate in it. Never take a job that requires you to be armed, either with a gun or a rock.

This is a fine philosophy if you can convince everyone in the world of it. If everyone held it, there would be no police, but police would not be needed. However, in the real world, society needs protection. You can be as pacifist as you like, of course, but I wish you wouldn't try to discourage those who feel that the protection of the public is a worthwhile endeavor.
posted by kindall at 10:21 AM on July 22, 2001


Educating yourself is a good idea too. I heard that the teach-ins during Seattle's WTO conference were incredible.

I've been wondering why indymedia, etc haven't issued more press releases from this "alternative summit." The range of topics alone indicates the diversity of groups and issues in the over 100,000 people protesting Genoa.
posted by spandex at 11:26 AM on July 22, 2001


they were legally adults at most. there are few 20 year olds out there that i know that i would truly consider an adult.
posted by Satapher at 3:43 PM on July 22, 2001


> I wish you wouldn't try to discourage those who feel
> that the protection of the public is a worthwhile
> endeavor.

I am against people who are violently against police. And I am against police who are violently against protesters. Anyone who carried a weapon in those streets was wrong. And any protester, armed or not, who was strutting the streets of Genoa instead of doing something useful back home was wrong.

Guns? People should not carry weapons; it's an incitement to violence. There are police officers who don't carry guns.
posted by pracowity at 12:00 AM on July 23, 2001


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