G8 Summit: Police raid targets media activists and l'Usine Cultural Centre


Report posted to Nettime e-mail discussion list by Florian Schneider (http://www.nettime.org). For more
information see GENEVA 03 autonomous media collective website (http://www.geneva03.org)

"Just before nine o'clock on Sunday June 1st, l'Usine - a cultural center and space for
anti-g8 communications production in Geneva- was raided by police. For several days
l'Usine had also been the home to the Geneva03 live-stream project that has provided
continuous live coverage of the wide range of demonstrations, discussions and points of
view, which have constituted the opposition to the G8 Summit.

The police made their first overt appearance at l'Usine in late afternoon. Riots were taking
place several hundred meters away. Police closed off access on the streets around the
bridge nearby. From about 7.30 onwards two groups of police occupied the streets leading
to Place des Volontaires from the direction of the bridge 'Coulouvroniere'. They remained
there and people were able to pass by them in small groups. At this time there were several
hundred people on the square talking and drinking. In an effort to maintain calm, workers
from the Usine brought down a large amount of food to the square and people sat down
and began to eat.

Shortly before nine o'clock several vans arrived at high speed on the Rue de la
Coulouvroniere outside of l'Usine and unleashed groups of plain clothes police officers,
indistinguishable from demonstrators except for pink armbands marked 'police'. They
moved immediately to enter l'Usine from the main entrance on the Place des Volontaires.
Workers from l'Usine and others from the square attempted to block their entry by forming
a human chain before the door and appealed to them to enter into dialogue, calling for calm
and the avoidance of violence. The leader of the police squadron paused briefly and turned
as if he had decided that they should leave, but almost immediately returned with more men,
who proceeded to attack the people protecting the door. Armed with telescopic batons and
concussion grenades, they pushed and then beat those at the door, ignoring any attempts at
negotiation. As people scrambled to escape in the panic, riot police attacked again, hitting
people with long batons. One independent video journalist was hit and injured During this
attack and then arrested.

Police then entered the first floor of l'Usine and began to hunt people in the building,
smashing windows and doors of every type throughout. Activists were subdued,
handcuffed, or sent into hiding. Police then set to work on the inner doors, cheering and
shouting, eventually breaking through into the back sections of the building. This section
hosts the Geneva03 streaming project which continued to cover the raid live including the
moment of the police eruption into the studio itself. Police battered at the door inside the
Zoo section of L'Usine for about fifteen to twenty minutes, while activists were besieged in
the media room. There, workers from Indymedia, Mute, Candida, Everyone Is An Expert,
Lora Radio and other groups struggled to remain calm. The fact that police could be heard
shouting and smashing things, made this difficult. A significant number of those present,
especially from the Italian contingent, had also been present in Genoa at the raid of the
media centre there. The stream was taken down temporarily as activists rushed to save
equipment, but is now up and running again at (www.geneva03.org). Footage of the raid
will be shown throughout the next days.

The activists were soon split into two groups and searched. Their personal effects were laid
on the floor in front of them. These effects were then examined by the same 'black bloc'
style police, who

 

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