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July 20th update.... Genova ...what the hell is going on

(this is a personal report, and while some of the info in here is based on rumours, it is true to the best of my knowledge and should at least give you an idea of whats happeing here. oh yeah...and spell check on foreigh computers?????)

Would like to say that it is absolute insanity here...but really its getting to b e quite common. The anti-capitalist fight has certainly stepped up a notch (concerning western activist summit hopping). Streets are filled with debry and fire. Roving bands of riot cops from the centre clash with thousands of activists back and forth all over the city. There is confirmation now that one person has died in the fights (by being hit by police vans charging crowds at high speed) and another is waiting to be confirmed. Tear gas is everywhere, over a hundred thousand people are taking to the streets all over the city. When one gathering of several thousand is scattered or one decides to leave, you can find 10,000 more just a few streets over, gaining space on the police. No one has made it through the red zone, but that doesn't quite matter. Its a war against the state and its soldiers down here. (as i right this i hear someone beside me confirming photos of a person being shot by the military police....reports of 72 wounded)

Quick look at what the day looked like for me....

After the late night of rain and campsite floodings , people woke up early in there various places. Generally groups gathered in the east and headed west to try to break through the red zone, some going south, and others heading straigt on or too the north. Early reports came of the socialist blocks under heavy watercannon fire somewhere within the tightened south zone. By noon, large shipping containers (for boats and trains) had been moved to completely block off many streets in the yellow area.

Pink block consisting of determined samba bands and fiesta moved north to join the woman's action and other NGO's. Atmosphere there was largely festive of course and reports have come through the day of sitins with large arrests and teaming up with the sections of the black block to clash with the cops.

Tutti Bianche and other civil disobedience types marched from their far of staging area straight down the main road towards Brignole station.

One section of black block left from our camp who we traveled with. Perhaps 3000. We marched east and met with the militant trade union COBAS and other anarcho syndicalist groups. At the union downtown bank windows began to be was not long before we could see tear gas up ahead and other groups clashing with police.

From here on it was back and forth for me and many others. Advance a block...mix with protestors from another groups, have police beat us back, and then head back or by another route. Around noonish when we first arrived we were finally pushed back up the eastern hill near Piazza Tomamase and eventually scattered down side streets. Making our towards the indymedia we found dumped garbage bins everywhere and even a turned car, this area was soon to be controlled by lots of cops.

Next we headed down to the convergence point at the water. As we got there, police were starting to move in. The main entrances had been barricaded by remenants of COBAS and the Black Block to keep the police from invading. We got in a side way. As we entered, the majority of demonstraors were leaving and heading along the water. We stayed on to get some food with other random people and were invaded by police again. Military style riot cops began singlefiling over the barricades to get in. After they had entered, and the hundred of food workers in side were barricading their restaurants , a police tank/bulldozer came through and tore down the barricades. The police then did some fancy manouvers and realizing there werent many folks there, took off again.

After an hour or so we walked up through Piazza Rosetti and north to see if we could find the Tute Bianche. It was a strange feeling. People wandering around, some sitting in front of rows of riot cops with banners. Others lounging on grass, and just random walkers. We headed through the district and past many police lines which just watched us with little interest and tried to be intimidating. It seems sometimes safest to walk in small groups here.

Eventually we ran into several thousand anarchists having a pitched street battle with the cops. We stayed around for a while. More dumbpsters on fire, the streets filled with broken glass. During this battle, a police van went nuts and stated chargeing in to break past the dumpster barricades. At first people ran but then the van was surrounded and was being beaten back by rocks and other projectiles. The armoured van tried several times but was eventually beaten far back with thousands of protestors chasing it and yelling victory cheers. Just then another police line down a side street disintegrated and was beaten away by protestors advancing from another direction.

I left this battle shortly and went ot see what was happening a few streets over. I walked out and saw maybe another 10,000 people down Via Tolemaic who had completely taken over. All f them were padded with makeshift armour and taking turns pushing forward.

One really amazing thing that was hapening in these battles was that everytime the police charged with tear gas, many people would start running. But those behind, instead of joining, would put there hand in the air and remind in a gentle way....tranquillo, calma, stay calm. And it worked, people would slow down, realize it was just tear gas and then return to the fray.....

Well...this is getting long...but basically it was going on like this for several hours back and forth. Many times though ambulances were going back and forth carying wounded. As we left, police were pressing forward in teams of a hundred riot cops, and last i saw from several streets up a hill was about 25 cops corner a protestor and repeatedly beat them for 5 minutes before dragging them away.

Back in the indymedia, we received word that there have been two death now confirmed. Cause of death suspected by being hit by charging police vans, and one person shot as well. While here, a person being interviewed described how she was taking photos and then attacked by 7 police who dragged her behind a white van and beat her while others destroyed her film and batteries.

As I'm finishing, helicopters are becoming a constant presence overhead, and we hear that many protestors may have started heading back to carlini stadium.

will write more soon
brian s

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