Capitalist class trembles at wrath of people

Barry Stoller bstoller at
Sat Jun 16 21:26:06 MDT 2001

The Observer. 17 June 2001. Europe puts up anti-riot barricades.

European leaders are to introduce Draconian measures to deal with the
growing threat of violence from anti-capitalist protesters.

They are bringing forward plans to stage all European summits in
Brussels behind tough new security barriers.

And in an extraordinary response to the massive disturbances in
Gothenburg, Sweden, the Italian government is planning to seal off the
major city of Genoa for next month's G8 world economic summit, closing
airlinks, railways and roads.

The plan follows the increasingly violent protests which have
characterized gatherings of international leaders since Seattle, and
which left three people with gunshot wounds after riots in Gothenburg on
Friday night.

The government of the new Italian Prime  Minister, Silvio Berlusconi, is
to shut down Genoa for four days in an unprecedented security crackdown
on anti-globalisation protesters.

Italian anarchist groups have vowed to wreak havoc at the summit.

The airport, main train stations and key motorway junctions will all be
closed from 18 to 22 July in an attempt to restrict access to tens of
thousands of demonstrators who plan to converge on the city.

'The airport is shut to all civil and commercial air traffic. It sounds
like a pre-emptive state of emergency,' said Dave Timms of the World
Development Movement, whose flight to the city has been cancelled by BA.

Anti-debt campaigners were told late last week that their flights had
been cancelled or diverted to Turin. 'We can't quite believe it. There
are certain issues regarding security, but we wouldn't have thought they
were serious enough to close the airport,' said a spokesman for Ryanair.

Road junctions and train stations will shut with entry to Genoa
restricted to a small number of access points, policed by the
paramilitary carabinieri. Genoese working in the controlled zones near
the conference centre have been told to stay at home.

Italian newspapers speculated that the main talks might be moved to a
more secure venue such as a castle, or even a cruise liner.

In a series of statements, the European Union made it clear that there
would be a 'fortress' approach to the next summit in Belgium in an
attempt to kill off future protests.

After 2002 formal summits will only take place in Brussels where
experience of dealing with protesters is much greater. Huge security
cordons will be thrown up around the summit centre.

An emergency meeting of Home Office and Foreign Office ministers is to
discuss new security measures with British intelligence services.

Mr Blair said the riots had nothing to do with allegations that the EU
had become detached from the people it was supposed to be serving.


Barry Stoller

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