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Genoa- Statements by two of the British people arrested
01 July 2001
93 people were brutally attacked and arrested in their sleep after the demonstrations against the G8, including five British people and one New Zealander living in Britain. They were held for four days in appalling conditions and then released without charge and a ruling that their arrests were illegal. They were then deported from Italy. Here are statements from two of them:
STATEMENT OF JONATHAN NORMAN BLAIR
"I declare that this is a true and honest statement which I have written on Friday 27th July 2001. I permit it to be used by other individuals and agencies who support me and all the other people arrested at the Scolastico A. Diaz and surrounding area on the night of Saturday 21st July 2001. I state that I wish to sue the Italian police for illegal arrest, kidnapping and torture and I ask for support in doing this. Please contact me via e-mail.
I went to Genoa to participate in the mass demonstrations against the G8 and its policies. I went because I believe in a free and equal society with people living in harmony with each other and the ecological system. I flew out with my friend Dan McQuillan on Tuesday 17th July (our return flight was on Monday 23rd July) on Ryan Air from Stansted to Genoa.
On Saturday night we were staying at the Scolastico A. Diaz. The school was having renovation work done on it but as far as I was aware, it was legally occupied and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. It was directly opposite the media centre and the Genoa Social Forum administrative base.
It was a big building with several floors, old with high ceilings. Through the front doors was a large hallway. On the left was a ramp leading up to a line of computers. To the left of that were stairs leading to the first floor where Dan and I were staying.
The room we stayed in had a window view onto the courtyard at the front of the school and was directly opposite the media centre with a narrow road in-between.
I went to bed about 12 o'clock on Saturday night. Staying in the room was Dan and a guy from New Zealand who I now know to be Sam Buchanan. I was dozing off and then I suddenly heard a crashing, roaring sound coming from outside. I quickly got out of my sleeping bag and looked out of the window. I saw a mass of police made up of squads from various cities (I know this from the documents that the judge gave me when I was released) filling the street outside.
One of my memories was of the police with shields charging down the street followed by 2 police vans. There were people in the street shouting and screaming. It was a nightmare of sound. I presume that this is the point that Mark Covell (another UK national) was critically injured by the police as he was crossing the street.
I began rapidly putting my clothes on and looked out of the window again. I saw the police van ram the school gates. We began to push our bags into the corner of the room hoping that if they came along the scaffolding that the police wouldn’t see us. I heard people screaming in pain from downstairs. It took about a few minutes before the police smashed down the door to our room.
They smashed our door down and had a large searchlight, which they shone into the room. As soon as they saw us they were on us. There was maybe about a dozen of them, it was complete chaos. Dan was completely battered by them all down his left side, he had his wrist broken and he had blows to the head. Sam was battered over the head three time – when I met him in the prison afterwards, he said that each time he was hit that it was like in a cartoon book as he saw stars and sparkles from the force of the blows. I received blows while we were on the floor and have bruises, but nothing in comparison with the others. I don’t know how long this lasted, maybe just a couple of minutes, maybe a bit longer. I could feel the venom and hatred from them.
They eventually left the room and as we lay there in a pool of blood they threw some of the window fra