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Alternative media in Genoa

Italy Independent Media Center
author: Undercurrents (underc(a) Thursday 26 Jul 2001

Independent Media in Genoa
By Undercurrents

Last weekend in Genoa, Italy as 8 politicians met, Undercurrents and reporters from Indymedia was on the streets reporting the protests of 150,000 people demanding environmental protection, poverty reduction through national debt relief and the end of vital public services being put into private hands. Undercurrents has reported from the G8 demonstrations in Birmingham in 1998 and in Cologne in 1999.

Sadly most of the mainstream media have reduced the demonstrations against globalisation into nothing more than meaningless riots. In Seattle 1999, to counteract these shallow reporting , was set up. This unique website allows open publishing, thus anyone to publish a written, audio, video or a picture report directly to the web site. A spokesperson for said "Through this system of 'Direct Media', Indymedia erodes the dividing line between reporters and reported, between active producers and passive audience: people are enabled to speak for themselves."

Undercurrents was inside Independent Media Centre (IMC) in Genoa when Italian Police raided the building. As some people slept , others were busy sending reports back to their various media networks world wide. Busy working inside a room of cabled laptop computers was one of the volunteer computer technicians, Marcus 'Sky' Covell.

With little sleep but much enthusiasm grassroots reporters logged video tapes for an indymedia documentary, edited radio reports for the internet, and wrote text reports of the days demonstrations.

Hearing a commotion outsie, Mr Covell went outside to see hundreds of armed police charging into the building. He was one of the first people to try and stop them. He didn't stand a chance. He was knocked to the ground and beaten with batons and boots and shields.

One American reporter using the facilities said "I reached the doorway of the room containing the phones and computers, I turned around to see someone tumbling down the stairwell. All I could see was a flailing arm and leg and a nightstick repeatedly coming down on him with great force."

BBC reporter Bill Hayon was inside the building as police lined him and others up against the wall. He said "I sw no one put up any resistance and I saw three people taken outside unconcious."

One Undercurrents reporter grabbed a hard disc containing encoded video and hid inside a water tank on the roof until the police left hours later. As a police helicopter flew overhead, another undercurrents cameraperson climbed out a window and escaped with his video tapes.

Novelist and direct action trainer Starhawk from California recalled hearing "demands to know whether there was someone there from Irish Indy media ... there was blood at every sleeping spot, pools of it in some places, stuff thrown around, computers and equipment trashed."

Lucy Morris of the Daily Mail ,with her poisoned pen reported that the badly beaten Marcus 'Sky' Covell , was "in charge of computer systems used to co-ordinate attacks on the G8 summit by anarchist groups and could face five years in jail."

The newspaper is following its history of creating untruths about "Masterminds behind the riots". As Marcus lay in hospital with broken ribs and a punctured lung, the Daily Mail described his London home in the following way - "The front door to the scruffy redbrick block has paint peeling away and the back of the building is daubed with graffiti. Signs on the property warn 'Anti-climb paint — City of Westminster'.

An Italian Magistrate has interviewed Sky and has decided not to press any charges. BBC radio 4 suceeded in interviewing an emotional Marcus as he lay in hospital. Fifty-one people were injured in the raid, with thirty one being taken to hospital, and three required surgery.

Police seized a number of media materials which has been condemned by The International Federation of Journalists. The federation also condemned Italian Police disguising themselves as journalists during the protests.

The interview with Marcus 'Sky' Covell can be heard via Real media on

A legal fund to help those imprisoned in Genoa has been set up.

Cheques or Postal Order can be sent payable to:
The Independent Media Centre (IMC) UK
P.O. Box 587
London, SW2 4HA, UK
please write LEGAL FUND to distinguish between donations to IMC UK and to the legal fund.

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