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july 23rd...genova ...past couple days

Things are beginning to get back to normal, whatever that means. Here's a look at the last few days from what I've seen and heard.

Just after uploading my last report about the aftermath of the riot on Saturday, the yells started coming from within the IMC. ...'CARIBINERI are here!' Everyone was scrambling to close windows and get there gear together, looking for their friends and blockading doors. Everything was panic. There had been several false alarms like this over the past few days, but when the gas started seeping in everyone knew this was the real time. Apparently the raid came to get film of caribineri dressed up as rioters leaving the cops station.

At one point while the police were coming down the street, I found myself on top of the building looking for a friend I had thought was there. I could see hundreds of riot cops on the front street, and more in the back. In the back parking lot they were pulling people out of cars who had been sleeping and throwing them agaisnt the walls. Then they started attacking the locked gate on the back of the school and within a few minutes they were filing into one of the bottom floors. Some people were running off to closets to hide, I ran down to the IMC floor.

Soon the cops were in. In the last minutes we had taken down the barricades knowing that it would make them more agro, and there was no stopping them. The cops came, they put us all against walls and made us sit lined up. It was really tense. Everyone had been hearing the rumours. On other floors we could hear loud smashes and noise. Screams were coming from out on the street. Most of the cops walking on our floor had been plain clothes cops who now wore helmets, police vests, and batons. Searches began in rooms and equipment/film was taken. (I later returned to my bag upstairs finding the contents scattered all down the hall with my film from the riots missing).

Things were looking grim until two people emereged , arguing with the cops. At first they went to push her out but upon seeing her badge, they let her in and all left. It turns out that she was a member of parliment and had been on the first floor when the cops came in. On her floor, the first room was completely trashed, monitors smashed, hard disks were ripped out of all the computers, and papers were scattered. But as they reached her room next and found her everything changed. They were led out to the hall calmly and given water to drink. Finally, everything cleared as the cops left the building. We were really lucky.

Our friends in the old school next door were not. Unfortunately the GSF has been really strict about limiting who can come into and out of their spaces, and the school next door was opened to allow people to use computers and hang out/rest if they couldn't offer a reason why they desereved a pass. After the cops left our building, we watched out the windows to see all the police surrounding the opposite building and searching throughout. Soon the ambulances came. Then the stretchers were coming out. People were inside our gate and hanging from windows screaming 'ASSISINI'. Lawyers and MP's were trying to get into the building to be witnesses. The police would not let them Media was everywhere.

Then from the building emerged 6 cops carrying what lloked like a black body bag. I don't think that I'll ever forget the gut wrenching screams and crys I heard all around me when we saw that. We were all so full of rage and unable to deal. Soon after another similar bag was brought out. To this moment, there has been no mention of any deaths, but with all the missing people and police control, I wonder what eaxtly happened.

You've probably seen the results. Finally after all the people had been brought out either to the hospital or jail everyone flooded in. The cops had sent in cleaning teams, but it was still a mess. Blood was smeared on walls and the floor, the gear of everyone was torn open and thrown everwhere. Doors and windows were smashed. The computer terminals were lying on the ground in pieces. Absolute chaos. It took me a full day before I could even go in.

hmmmm....that's kind of what happened late Saturday night between 1 and 4.

The next day was full of more media and people flooding in, everyone having left the other spaces because of police raids and random beatings. It had become clear that police were specifically targeting people in black. While the cops had attacked everyone alike , throughout the demos, they have picked up on the 'black block divide' among activists and have been inducing more fear along that line.

A group of twelve people now with me in Milano were picked up when they reached the train staion here in Milan. They were then brought the the police staion and interrogated about 'black block' and forced to where every piece of black clothing they had, and then photographed. It was even to the point where one was forced to where his black socks as the only black item he had. This was obviously done more to intimidate and reduce support for black block tactics than anything else.

Yesterday was evacuation day. Everyone was dissapearing quickly. There was no food around at all and peole were scared. We all thought that it would be good to stay and help but we knew we couldn't stay by ourselves, and the media centre was closing down. All the foreigners left at the media centre organized amongst themselves and we got a train and bus together to Milan, where we are no all in Leoncavallo Social Centre.

When we arrived at the train station there was a big rally for us all and a march to the squat. Here we are all recouperating and helping each other get over the shock of what haapened. Also a lot of legal support and further rallies are now in the works.

...gotta go...but one last thing is that while I have never seen so many wounded people at a demo (over 500 in the hospital), the level of shock in some people is unbelievable. Some people are talking to themselves and spacing out. Some are going through some really tough times mentally and we seem very unprepared to deal with it. It's a wierd feeling though to sort trhough all the feelings of rage and trauma over what has haapened (and wanting it to just go away) and know that it happens to people all over the world in non western countries who are resisting, and have been resisting for ages.

brian s

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