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what genova looks like ...july 19th

July 18th report from Genova...

More and more people seem to be continually arriving into Genova despite the attempts by the state to scare off and block protestors from coming through. With the first of the marches starting tomorrow, there are already thousands of people filling up the sleeping stadiums, campground, and convergence spaces. Many groups have spontaneously found their own sleeping and coordinating places and there are so many different things happening around the city.

This is what it looks like...

The town stretches along the coast between the sea and the mountains with the winding streets right up the sides of the hils. The red zone that the police have shut off, is a large part in the centre which effectively cuts the city in half blocking quick access. The centre, and surrounding areas are teeming with special police busses, personal carriers, riot gear, and about 15,000 officers (including the military). Wandering too close to the centre (and even in other areas) becomes very tense. Police will stare and snarl at best (one friend had a cop driving by actually stick his tounge out at him), stop and search people, and a number of people have been detained and further arrested for things such as having a butter knife in their possesion.

The large convergence space is a huge parking lot with tent pavillions and large dining rooms. It is right on the coast and fairly close to the red zone. It is organized by the Global Social Forum with help from the city and has become know as a relatively safe spot where people gather in large numbers. The air here is that of a concert/festival, with thousands of slick looking infomaps, a tonne of expensive fair ground restaurants, and a large stage where a concert featuring Manu Chao is taking place Wednesday night. The space is free though and there are allready two groups giving out free food and water. One sponsered by the GSF and Manu Chao, and the other a rural anarchist collective called Elf serving pizzas from their homebuilt oven they brought along. Meetings of what has become known as the 'pink bloc' (after the Prague experience) have been taking place here, to decide on a course of action for actions on the 20th.

There are many other space too...just down the road on a grassy hilltop over looking the sea, is the Forum, which has been taking place in more open air tennts.

Not far from both these sites is the Media centre, hosting both the IMC and the GSF media. This is a big school up the hill which has been obtained and has been usefull for holding direct action trainings here as well. (yep...starhawk...and more direct action folks from the US are here). IMC has a lot of folks coming in and out and has a mobile radio van parked out front beaming out constant reports.

There is park about 15 minutes walk from here that has been givien to camping and is now loaded with folks sleeping below the trees. This is one of the nicest places of them all and is the centre point for a lot of caravans, squatter folks, and black block types. Loose organizing is going on here as well.

Then there is the stadium where the 'direct action' organizing and large sleeping quarters are. Earlier this morning a 100 riot cops showed up to be eventually repelled and have four cops go in to observe what was going down.

Last on the list of major places is a Social centre and stadium up north in the hills which is a 15 minute bus ride away. It is here that the anarchist coalitions are organizing and preparing for the actions they will take part in on the 20th.

Everywhere, people are getting ready, and while there is the tension of constant police activity (there have been several mysterious firebombs go off in the last few days) and harrasment, we are getting ready to take to the streets in the next few days, and spirits are high.

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