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POLICE and rioters clashed again in Genoa yesterday - turning the heart of the city into a war zone as world leaders met on the second day of the G8 summit.

As more than 100,000 peaceful demonstrators marched through the city, bands of anarchists smashed windows, overturned cars, hurled petrol bombs and set fire to offices.

A police charge on foot was met by missiles hurled by the protesters, who retreated towards the burning buildings as volleys of tear gas rounds were fired at them.

Many of the anarchists carried sticks of wood, steel bars and broken bricks as weapons. Police followed them, constantly firing tear gas to clear them from the area.

Some demonstrators were caught and viciously beaten by as many as eight officers at once.

The new outbreak of violence followed six hours of conflict on Friday which culminated in the shooting dead of a demonstrator by a police officer.

Carlo Giuliani, 23, who lived in Genoa, was gunned down and then run over by a carabinieri vehicle as he was about to hurl a fire extinguisher at it.

A police spokesman said Giuliani, who was unemployed and homeless, had a police record and faced a series of pending charges including illegal arms possession.

As yesterday's march passed near where the protester died, demonstrators shouted 'assassins' at the line of police nearby.

The demonstration came only hours after the G8 leaders rejected calls to suspend their annual conclave. Prime Minister Tony Blair voiced his regret over the death of a demonstrator - but insisted that such meetings of world leaders had to continue.

'It is a tragedy that someone has lost their life,' he said yesterday. 'But it is very difficult for the police when they are faced with people throwing petrol bombs and using extreme forms of violence.

'The other tragedy of the situation is that it distracts attention from the real work we are doing here on issues like helping the poorest countries in the world write off their debts.'

An anti-capitalist demonstration passed off peacefully in Birmingham city centre yesterday. About a dozen protesters gathered in Chamberlain Square to support the march taking place at the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy.

The group, part of the Birmingham S26 Anti-Capitalist Collective, waved placards and dispersed peacefully after an hour.


POP stars Bono and Bob Geldof last night blasted the violence which erupted at the G8 Summit in Genoa.

Speaking at a news conference to promote the Drop the Debt campaign, which seeks cancellation of the debts of the world's poorest countries, U2 singer Bono said: 'I'm angry, and although it's OK to bang your fist on the table, it is not OK to put your fist in the face of your opponent, whether you're a protester or the police.'

Live Aid legend Bob Geldof also criticised special laws brought in to stop people hanging their underwear out of the window when the world leaders were in town.

'As Mr Blair was being taken through the city centre in a motorcade, a woman aged about 64 waved a pair of enormous bloomers at him. That did more than the anarchists have done.'


POLICE are to be given new powers to require protesters to remove masks and balaclava helmets - in a bid to prevent violence and vandalism by militant demonstrators.

Home Secretary David Blunkett has won approval for the unmasking move from Cabinet colleagues and detailed proposals for a change in the law are now being drawn up.

It has been prompted by the sustained animal rights campaign against Huntingdon Life Sciences laboratories in Cambridgeshire, where staff have complained of intimidation and assault by masked protesters.

'We are determined to deal with extremists who think they can get away with criminal acts under the guise of protest,' said a Government spokesman. 'We are not prepared to tolerate thuggery.'


CLASHES... a demonstrator covers his face from smoke and flames in Genoa as police battled to quell violence RIOT... police fire tear gas at demonstrators
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Publication:Sunday Mercury (Birmingham, England)
Date:Jul 22, 2001

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