Report by Annelie Buntenbach and Hans-Christian Ströbele, Members of the German Bundestag, on their trip to Genoa on 25 and 26 July 2001


Following initial reports and newspaper articles on the arrests in Genoa in the wake of the G8 summit on Monday, 23 July 2001, Members of Parliament Cem Özdemir and Hans-Christian Ströbele issued a statement to the press on the morning of 24 July calling for an investigation of the events in Genoa, in particular of the circumstances surrounding the arrests, and for the setting up of an independent international commission of inquiry (cf. annex 1).

MP Buntenbach had already received initial calls on Sunday, 22 July, from individuals expressing their concern for the whereabouts and well-being of friends and relatives who had gone to Genoa to take part in the protests against the G8 summit. News reports about the bloody arrests at the Diaz School had given cause for concern in particular. Despite attempts by the German Foreign Office to get information from the police in Genoa, the situation on Monday, 23 July, seemed to be even more confusing than beforehand.

On Tuesday, MP Ströbele received reports from Italy that those arrested had been severely maltreated at the time of their arrest and had been beaten and tortured at police stations. Numerous demonstrators from Germany were reported to be in hospital suffering from severe injuries. It was also said that close relatives and lawyers were not being allowed access to the prisoners. No reliable information was to be had from the German consulate. Callers from Italy requested all the more urgently that Members of Parliament come to Genoa to contact the prisoners and make the matter public.

On Tuesday afternoon (24 July), MP Ströbele made a decision to set off the next morning for Genoa. The German Foreign Office promised over the phone that it would provide support via the German consulate in Milan. Mr Höpfner, and later Mr Hartmann of the Foreign Office assisted in preparing the trip. That evening, MP Ströbele talked to MP Buntenbach who, independent of him, had also decided to set off, and they agreed to meet the next day in Genoa and try to visit the prisoners together.

Talks in Genoa

At about 12:00 on Wednesday afternoon (25 July), MP Ströbele arrived in Genoa, accompanied by a journalist and the brother of the prisoner, Mr A. The mother of this prisoner had called MP Ströbele the night before, asking him to visit her son. MP Ströbele was received by the German Consul General, Ms. Mayer-Schalberg. At the airport, they met a delegation of Germans from the coordination centre for imprisoned demonstrators, who had arrived from Milan.

The members of the delegation reported that they had been present Saturday night at the Social Forum in Genoa when the police search took place. A press and communication centre had been set up at the Social Forum during the G8 gathering. This centre had also attempted to coordinate the demonstrations. The police broke into the offices of the Forum Saturday night, hours after the end of the last demonstrations. Everyone present was forced to lie on the ground. It was only thanks to the intervention of a Member of the European Parliament that the police simply searched the offices and nothing worse happened.

A journalist was present at the Social Forum. She reported that she and another journalist friend of hers were taken to police headquarters in Genoa. They were taken to a room on the top floor of the building, to the right of the staircase, with a sign on the door reading something like "Narcotrafficanti" (narcotics dealers). In the room they were made to stand against the wall and were threatened by the police. They showed them their press cards. While the documents were being checked over, they were spit at and humiliated. The police held their fists at her head cracking the joints in their fingers. There was a pornographic calendar on the wall. When it was moved aside, it revealed a portrait of Mussolini and Fascist symbols. The journalists were released once their I.D. had been checked.

After searching the Social Forum

 

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