THREE Britons are among 18 protesters still missing a week after the G8 riots in Genoa, according to the Genoa Social Forum, the umbrella organization for the protest groups.
Vittorio Agnoletto, spokesman for the Forum, said that it was mobilizing its legal and health services in the search for those still missing.
Forum officials declined to release the names of the missing. “As far as we know they are not in prison and they are not in hospital,” Signor Agnoletto said. “And frankly, we do not believe they are at the seaside, as Renato Ruggerio, the Foreign Minister, has ironically suggested.”
Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian Prime Minister, promised there would be no cover-up over complaints of excessive force by Italian police at the summit, but said that it was “clear enough from the television pictures alone who were the aggressors and who were trying to keep order”.
In a forceful speech to the Senate, interrupted by jeers and objections from the Center Left opposition, Signor Berlusconi insisted that the summit had been a political and diplomatic success. He said that an internal inquiry into the policing of the summit was under way “and if there were abuses, excesses and violence there will be no cover-up for those who violated the law”.
But he said the riots had been instigated by a hardcore of anarchists and “there should be no confusion between those who attacked and those who were attacked, between those who defended law and order and those who assailed it”. He said the previous Center Left Government, which chose Genoa as the summit venue, had also devised the policing arrangements.
He said he had complete trust in the heads of the police and Carabinieri. “Let nobody compare me to General Pinochet,” he said, a reference to charges by left-wing leaders — including Massimo D’Alema, the ex-Communist former Prime Minister — that Italy was moving towards a “Chile-style police state”.
The aftermath of Genoa has dominated Italian front pages for a week, with newspapers reflecting calls in Britain, Germany and other European countries for an international inquiry into the summit, during which one protester was shot dead, 230 were injured and 280 people were arrested. Attention has focused on the killing of Carlo Giuliani, 23, by a young Carabinieri officer and the police raid on a school housing the Genoa Social Forum.
Signor Berlusconi said that a report this week by Claudio Scajola, the Interior Minister, had shown that the school raid was justified, since it had brought to light an array of offensive weapons and black clothing used by the Black Bloc, the leading militant anarchist group, whose membership is predominantly German and Austrian. He said that the death of Signor Giuliani “pains us all” but the moderate Left had “connived” in the violence by failing to isolate the extremists. However, magistrates in Genoa said that all but three of the 93 protesters arrested in the raid had been released for lack of evidence.
Magistrates have opened an inquiry into the raid and ordered the Interior Ministry to provide a list of the policemen involved.
Amnesty International said yesterday there were indications that Italian police violated the human rights of protesters at the summit. It said it believed inquiries into alleged police brutality would not be enough to establish the truth and called for an independent inquiry. Genoa prosecutors have opened three inquiries into the allegations.
Copyright 2001 Times Newspapers Ltd