Protest at Italian Embassy, Sat 28 July

Jul 28, 2001

Hundreds of people, many with home-made banners and placards, turned out for the protest.  The mood was upbeat. In the last few days, as the truth about the police torture in Genoa has emerged, support for the anti-capitalist movement has grown worldwide.

Berlusconi and Blair are on the defensive now – their immediate support for the police and condemnation of the protesters are clearly seen to fly in the face of the evidence.

The lack of accountability of police and politicians show why we protested in Genoa in the first place. Why should eight men determine the fate of millions? Why are their actions reported, while a demo of 300,000 people in Genoa last Saturday is ignored?

The protest began with chanting of “Berlusconi – Assassino” and other slogans from last weekend, helped along by a samba band (picture, left) Though the police presence was heavy there were no arrests or any other trouble.

After an hour or so, one of the four British prisoners, who returned to the UK on Friday, made a statement. Norman Blair (picture, left) told us that despite the days of police torture he had suffered, he did not consider himself a victim. He was a member of a growing, worldwide movement. The reason why the police behaved as they did is that they are frightened by the strength of the movement. Jonathan pledged to continue fighting, to tell the truth about what happened in Genoa, and to build an increasingly powerful anti-capitalist movement worldwide.

Tom from UCL UNISON (left, black shirt) then spoke. A member of their branch is still in hospital in Italy after being hit in the eye by a police baton – it’s feared he may go blind in that eye. Elane Heffernan, a trade unionist and refugee worker from East London, spoke about how the anti-capitalist movement is growing internationally despite attacks. Guy Taylor of Globalise Resistance ended the rally by reminding people of the reportback meetings we are organising, and of the meeting on Thursday 2 August at Conway Hall. We’ll also be holding a counter-conference in London at the same time as Labour’s corporate-sponsored one, and going to Brighton the next day to demonstrate.

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