August 9, 2001
The following material is archived as a complement to the ERN compilation CLIMAXING VIOLENCE AROUND A WORLD IN URGENT NEED OF SPIRITUAL HEALING available at http://www.cybernaute.com/earthconcert2000/ClimaxingViolence.htm
1. Genoa: Statement of Daniel McQuillan + 2. Genoa: Statement of Morgan Hager + 3. WALL STREET JOURNAL: G-8 Protesters Were Beaten, Deprived of Rights by Police in Italy
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001
From: Mark Graffis <email@example.com>
Subject: Genoa: Statement of Daniel McQuillan
Statement of Daniel McQuillan
I declare that this is a true and honest statement which I have written on Tuesday 31st July 2001.
On 17th July 2001 I travelled with my friend Norman Blair on Ryanair flight FR972 from Stansted to Genoa. I went to Genoa to join protests against the exclusion of ordinary people from the decisions of the G8, which I believe are based on profit and exploitation rather than co-operation and human need.
On Saturday 21st July I witnessed large and peaceful sections of a legal march being gassed and attacked by police. These events contributed to what I and others felt as an atmosphere of fear in the city that evening. We were staying at the Scolastica A. Diaz, a large empty school building opposite the Genoa Social Forum Media Centre. The school was covered in scaffolding - I assume it was being renovated during the school holidays. It was being used as an annexe for some computer terminals and as an accommodation space, and we'd been told it was a safe place to sleep. On Saturday night there were a lot of mostly young people staying at the school - the ground floor was a colourful patchwork of sleeping bags and camping mats. There was also a quiet but regular stream of people coming in and out to check their emails on the free computer terminals. Norman and I were sharing a first floor room with a man called Sam Buchanan. There were also the belongings of at least two other people in the room but they hadn't yet returned that evening.
At what I think was about 1am Sunday morning I was awoken by an explosion of noise. Norman looked out of the window and said that police were charging in to the building. From downstairs we could hear glass smashing and people screaming. In fear, we tried to hide our belongings out of sight in the hope that the police wouldn't realise our room was occupied. As the sounds of the police rampage grew closer we all hid under one of the tables at the back of the room. The police pounded on the door of our room and after a few moments kicked the door open. They advanced in to the room waving a flashlight and their truncheons. We stood up with raised hands, and I was saying "Take it easy, take it easy" to the police. I could only see them in silhouette as they were lit from behind by the corridor lights.
About five or six police advanced on us and the leading one struck me a hard blow on the left side of the head with his truncheon. I had a brief 'white-out' (loss of vision) and I fell to the floor. Several of the police began raining blows on me and I rolled on to my right side and curled in to a ball. I raised my left arm to my temple for protection just in time to deflect a hard truncheon blow aimed at my head. It was a frenzied attack. I think I was yelling in pain or fear. Eventually they stopped and backed out of the room. The last two paused by the door where there was a stack of wooden door frames, and in a last vindictive gesture they threw some of these on to us. Other police came in to the room and dragged us to our feet. We were herded down the stairs past yet more officers clad in body armour - I received at least one further blow to the head on the way down the stairs, even though by this time I was bleeding heavily from a head wound. We were brought in to the main downstairs room and made to kneel face down to the floor with our hands stretched out in front of us. I watched blood from my head form a pool in front of me.
After some time we were told to sit back against the walls of the room. It was like a wartime scene or the aftermath of a bomb blast. There was perhaps thirty or forty injured people sitting around the walls, many of them bleeding or obviously injured. A young woman was pulled in to the room by the police - she was dark haired and of slim build, and obviously frightened and confused. Two police were shouting at her in Italian which she didn't seem to understand, and then one of the police struck her upheld wrist with a forceful blow, and she was pushed, crying, in to a corner.
Many of the police were in plain clothes under their body armour and helmets, and could easily have passed for demonstrators - somehow this made them even more frightening. Some were wearing handkerchieves across their faces to mask their identities, and I particularly remember a tanned police officer with a long black pony tail.
I was trying to stem the flow of blood from my head and Norman whispered 'Oh shit Dan you look bad, are you OK?' He held on to my free hand and told me not to worry, that whatever happened he wouldn't leave me, that he would make sure we stayed together. I was wearing shorts and a light short-sleeved shirt, which were both soaked in my blood, and I was starting to shake. Beside us there was a completely unconscious man being tended by his girlfriend, while another woman held his legs up in some sort of recovery position. His body was twitching spasmodically and I was afraid he was going to die.
At the other end of the room the police were searching through a great jumbled pile of people's belongings. They were ripping open bags and pouches and scattering their contents, leaving clothes and documents everywhere which were then trampled over by other police going in and out of the room. During this time I saw at least one well dressed older man in a suit come in and survey the operation, and converse with two of the truncheon wielding officers before leaving.
At some point a couple of paramedics came in to the room and started to treat the wounds. They were pouring a fizzy liquid on to wounds and applying basic dressings. Then several ambulance staff in orange jumpsuits appeared and began to load people on to stretchers. Both the ambulance staff and the paramedics seemed very agitated. I saw the ambulance staff tear the cardboard backing of some A4 paper pads for use as materials for splints. I was loaded on to a trolley stretcher and wheeled out of the room, accompanied by Norman. Somewhere near the door of the building we were physically blocked by a helmeted officer who had a shouting argument with the ambulance woman pushing the stretcher. She said to me "Sorry I must give him this" and removed my money pouch, which contained my passport, my credit cards and about
500 cash in Sterling and Italian Lire, as well as my contact lenses, and gave it to the policeman. No-one at any point since then has admitted any knowledge of the whereabouts of this pouch or its contents. In the street outside I can remember lines of police, camera flashes and a furious shouts of 'assassino!" from the building opposite. I can remember one woman shouting in English "We will not forget this!"
We were taken in an ambulance to the Galliera hospital, which is somewhere in Genoa. I was examined and put in the queue for X-rays along with many others from the school. After the X-rays a plainclothes officer, who said he worked at the hospital, took my name and date of birth. I was told by medical staff that I had a fractured left wrist but no fracture of the skull. My foot had also been badly beaten and I was limping. My arm was put in a cast and my head wound was stitched. The medical staff gave me my X-rays in an envelope and a photocopy of my diagnosis. Because I was also shivering badly they gave me an old sleeping bag to take with me for warmth. The hospital staff were noticeably kinder when there were no police officers present in the room. While I was in the lift going to X-ray one of the nurses said in broken English something like 'This is not Genoa, we are not doing this'.
A group of about ten of us were removed from the hospital and put under guard in a Carabinieri van. We were taken away in a police convoy, which swept through the deserted red zone. At one point I got a very clear view of the luxury cruise liners in the port which were the accommodation of the G8 delegates. They glittered with bright lights. The convoy seemed to leave the red zone at the west end and soon we were at some sort of police camp at a place I think is called Genoa-Bolzaneto.
At the camp we were made to stand facing a wire fence. A policeman drew crosses on our cheeks with some sort of blue highlighter pen. We were questioned as to name and nationality. All the police were dressed in paramilitary style uniforms. As dawn came we were led in to one building where we had to stand spread-eagled against the wall while we were searched. One policeman gave me a vicious kick in the ankle I was limping on. Our remaining possessions were removed and put in to envelopes - for me, this was only shoelaces. We were led down the corridor with our arms behind our necks, bent nearly double by a policeman pressing on our heads, and pushed in to a holding cell. It was about 20 foot by 20 foot, with a barred door and with a large open mesh window making up about half of the opposite wall. We were made to stand in the spread-eagle position against the wall - legs apart and hands against the wall above our heads. For me this was very painful because of my damaged wrist. Any signs of arms dropping was met with shouted threats from police officers standing behind us. This went on for a long time. Other groups of paramilitary police gathered outside the mesh window and shouted what I took to be other threats. I only recognised a few words, such as 'communist!' and 'intellectual shit!' I was standing near the window and I was spat on twice on my face, but I did not react and kept my eyes downcast.
Eventually we were allowed to sit. There were perhaps twenty five people in the room, many with bandages and plaster casts. It was intensely cold on the stone floor and I was shivering uncontrollably. At this point we had no blankets at all, so a few of us were sharing the sleeping bag as the only cover for warmth. All attempts to ask the guards any questions about our situation were met with curt refusal. After a while they started to allow people to go to the toilet one at a time. When my turn came I was marched head down up the corridor to the toilet. When I came out of the toilet another policeman, dressed grey fatigues, threw a container of cold water over me so my shirt and shorts were drenched. Sitting cold and wet in the holding cell increased my uncontrollable shaking. I believe that as well as being cold and afraid, I was suffering from the effects of shock and loss of blood.
I find it hard to remember the exact sequence of events in the holding cell. At irregular intervals groups of police would march in to the cell with a list of names - we had to jump to our feet when our name was called and answer also our nationality and date of birth. Other police continued to come to the outside window and shout threateningly. We were made to do another session of standing spread-eagled, which may have lasted an hour or so.
In between we detainees would try to catch a few moments of sleep, lying on the stone floor or slumped against the walls. At no time did any police say anything about our situation - whether we had been arrested, if so what for, or about any legal process. Clearly the police felt they could do what they liked, with no regard for law or rights, and with no danger of being held to account. It felt like we had been 'disappeared' - abducted by violent paramilitary police to a camp where we were completely at their mercy and out of sight of the world.
During the day we were removed in one's and two's and taken to a parallel building for processing. This was also a hollow concrete shed but it contained a variety of sophisticated equipment on tables, such as military-looking laptop computers. I was escorted to this room by two plain clothes police wearing black leather gloves. I was photographed several times and my fingerprints were taken five times. I was also placed in front of a device attached to one of the computers, which had binocular lenses which were shone directly in to my eyes, which I thought could be for recording retinal scans. I was also made to sign several forms without understanding their contents - my questions about them were not answered. At some point in the afternoon on of the supervising police came in with a bag of ham rolls. One of the Italian prisoners translated that he was telling us not to complain about this food. There were only about twelve rolls for the fifteen of us remaining in the cell. As many of us were vegetarians we took the rolls apart and tried to share the bread out evenly. This was the only food given to us until we arrived at Pavia prison the following afternoon (about 36 hours after arrest).
As evening came the atmosphere became very tense. All of the plain clothes police had disappeared and we were left with the paramilitaries. There were strange sounds from down the corridor - snatches of voices, some banging and crashing. Some people were removed from the cell and did not return. I had the feeling I had been transported to another continent - as I watched the guards take people out, images of Pinochet's Chile flashed in to my mind. We were moved to another room where we again had to stand spread-eagled. I heard a blow and a prisoner close to me cried out (I now know that he was struck on the back of the head). We could hear what sounded like the sounds of people being beaten. Norman was one of the first to be removed from the cell, and a while later I heard Norman yell in pain.
(I now know he was struck by a guard while being strip-searched). The barred door of the cell opposite had been covered by blankets and we couldn't see who was being taken in and out of it. I felt sure we were going to be interrogated and made to sign false statements, to give the police some excuse for their violent actions. I had a whispered conversation with a German prisoner next to me in which we exchanged thoughts about how best to resist a beating. By this time I felt very weak through lack of food and sleep.
I was taken from the cell and processed by prison police in one of the side rooms - strip searched, photographed, fingerprinted etc. As I was being marched back down the corridor two of the paramilitaries in the grey uniforms gestured that I should go in to one of the side rooms. They had their sleeves rolled up and were wearing the thick riot gloves. But a superior officer behind me said something like "No, non identificato", and I was taken back to the holding cell where we waited until dawn. Norman didn't return to the cell and I was very worried about him.
In the morning we were handcuffed in to pairs and taken out of the camp in a prison coach to a place I know now to be Pavia Prison. On the way out of the coach we were given a plastic bag each with a couple of rolls and a bit of fruit. We were processed, given a couple of sheets and a towel and taken to cells. At last we were part of some sort of official judicial process and out of the hands of the paramilitary police. It was a relief. However, the prison guards also refused our requests to contact the outside world. There was still no explanation of our situation, just rumours among the prisoners about how long we could legally be kept incommunicado. My feelings, along with others I talked to, turned from relief to frustration. On the second day in prison I was placed in a cell with Norman. It was great to see him again. Our experience of the prison was the difficulty of getting any explanations or getting our rights - that night I was denied sheets to sleep under for no reason. It was also a major struggle to get vegetarian food. I was having some trouble with my eyes because of wearing the same pair of contact lenses since my arrest. Although they were daily disposable lenses, which are dangerous to wear for more than a day because they can adhere to the surface of the eye, I didn't dare to remove them because I felt under physical threat and I wanted to be able to see what was going on around me.
All of us were trying to insist on our rights to see a lawyer (avvocato) but to no avail. On Tuesday lunchtime I received six telegrams from family and friends, grudgingly handed over by a prison officer. This was a turning point - knowing that people knew about us and were out there working for us. Later that afternoon I was taken downstairs to meet Gilberto Pagani, the lawyer that my family had nominated for me. I believe I was the first prisoner to get a legal visit, and possibly the only one who got to see a lawyer before our judicial hearing. He explained that we would be taken in front of a magistrate who would check whether our detention was correct. Gilberto made me feel hopeful that the injustice of our arrest was going to be successfully challenged. He also told me about solidarity demonstrations in Milan and other Italian cities which gave me great hope. Later in the exercise yard I told the others about Gilberto's visit, and we all felt that the sooner we got in front of a magistrate the better.
The next day we were kept in groups in holding cells while waiting to see the magistrate. Five minutes before being taken to these cells the prison officers produced new shirts for us to wear. However I was determined to keep my bloodied shirt and not let them hide this evidence of my treatment. In the holding cells I was able to get more of an impression of all the injuries that people had sustained. In our cell, out of about ten people, we had a broken leg (multiple fracture), three broken arms or wrists, seven head wounds needing stitches, a broken nose, facial injuries, and two people whose backs were literally black with bruising. One of the German men told me that while lying on the ground at the school after being beaten, police officers had sprayed CS gas in to their wounds and their faces.
We were handed our charge sheet about 5 minutes before seeing the magistrate. It was in Italian and we had no translation, although we were clearly being charged as a group and there seemed to be a list of items the police claimed were found at the school. I could recognise that one item was a T-shirt bearing the slogan "Stop the Police Violence" - clearly whoever drew up the charge sheet missed the irony in this. Other dangerous items like '1 floppy disk' were also listed, as well as some items of black coloured clothing. The magistrate asked me if I was a member of any organisation (to which I answered 'a trade union'), whether I had seen any of the so-called Black Block in the school (no) or seen any Molotov cocktails in the school (again, no). She then asked me to describe my arrest. After a few minutes of my description she threw up her hands and said something like 'non confirmato, non confirmato' which was translated to me as 'arrest not legally correct'. She also said I was free to go. I was then returned to my cell by the guards.
Some hours later I was given back my shoelaces and sleeping bag and processed out of the prison with a group of about five Germans and a Spanish detainee. When we got out of the front door we were confronted by a group of uniformed police who insisted that we get in to a police van - the woman officer said we were to be driven to the Italian border. A hundred yards up the road we could see a group of our supporters gathered at the prison gate. We insisted that we were free to go, which made the police very agitated. I noticed that we were also accompanied by four plain clothes officers. As we were arguing with the uniformed police these plain clothes officers moved between us and the front gate and pulled on leather gloves. We were told we were subject to a deportation order. Eventually we were persuaded to get in the van and we were driven to the main Pavia police station.
At the police station we were detained in a small side room and guarded by a detachment of carabinieri. We had to ask for permission to go to the toilet. Despite being declared free we were still obviously prisoners. However, there were some really great volunteers from the local Genoa Social Forum who brought us food and phone cards. One of them also gave me a T-shirt, for which I was very grateful. We could see supporters and the media gathered outside the police station fence but we couldn't talk to them.
Our lawyers were at the police station and were mounting a legal challenge to our deportation order. The German and Spanish consuls arrived to talk to their nationals. Some time later the British consular staff also arrived at the police station. They were friendly, and helped us to move from an isolated side room to the main area of the station where other detainees were held. However, at no time did any of the consular staff attempt to systematically debrief me or take any sort of statement.
The legal tussle went on all night. When we asked the authorities how we could recover our belongings, abandoned in the school, there was no answer. I had left behind my rucksack, clothes and a mobile phone, but some of the others had cars and vans left in Genoa. I felt really bad for one of the German men whose girlfriend was injured in the police attack on the school - she was still in hospital in Genoa and he was going to be deported without even being able to see her.
We were given our deportation papers which stated that we were being deported from Italy, and excluded for five years, for being " a danger to public order and security". Given that over 60 out of the 93 people arrested at the school had serious injuries requiring hospital teatment, I believe the only danger we represented was as clear evidence of brutal and repressive policing. We were driven out of the station in a police coach under guard. This was at 4 a.m. but even at this time there was a crowd of local people waiting outside the police station to cheer us and show solidarity. At the airport we were dumped at the main entrance, and the police formed a sort of guard line on the pavement. After some milling around we were told that it was our own responsibility to deport ourselves, but that if we didn't we would be re-arrested. When I asked how I could deport myself when the police had taken and kept my money and passport I was given no helpful answer. Norman and myself were assisted by the consular staff to book a ticket with a British Airways flight to Heathrow - however, we had to pay for the tickets ourselves with Norman's credit card. On the plane home I became agitated by the fact that my sweat- and blood-stained clothing smelt bad. Apart from swapping the shirt, I had been wearing the same clothes since the original arrest. A kind stewardess gave me a sample bottle of aftershave so that I could cover the smell and be able to meet my parents and girlfriend with more confidence.
The police at the prison refused to give me my medical records when I was released. On returning to Britain I visited hospital to have a proper record made of my injuries which can be used in any action against the responsible authorities.
One of the Genoa Social Forum slogan's was 'Another World is Possible', meaning a world based on justice and harmony rather than profit & exploitation. However, while in custody I felt a great fear for Italy and for the rest of Europe, that another even darker world is possible; a return to fascism. I have seen that pockets of this world exist within the Italian state. How far are we going to allow it to spread?
I believe that there was a systematic attempt to intimidate, brutalise and imprison me. But one unintended effect has been a huge outpouring of support and care from friends and strangers to me, my family and the other detainees. Many have said that this incident has woken them up to how bad things have become. There is a broad sense of determination to oppose global injustice. Despite having had a painful and frightening experience I feel inspired and strengthened to stand up for a better world.
SIGNED - Dan McQuillan, 31st July 2001
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001
From: Mark Graffis <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Genoa: Statement of Morgan Hager
Our daughter, Morgan Hager, was in the school in Genoa and was badly beaten. You included in your last missive a copy of an article written about her by Jim Redden. I would like you also to have the statement she wrote at the request of the American Consul in Rome.
STATEMENT OF MORGAN KATHERINE HAGER (STATE OF OREGON ) ss. County of Multnomah
I, MORGAN KATHERINE HAGER, being first duly sworn, do depose and say as follows:
The following is a summary of what I recall about the incidents of the morning of Sunday, July 22nd and the events that followed. Even though I was injured and afraid at the time, my memories are clear (although some minor details may be inaccurate). This statement focuses on what I directly experienced or saw. When I refer to events I didn't directly experience or see, I have so indicated.
Sherman Sparks and I, together with our friend Angeline, traveled to Genoa and participated in the peaceful protest marches there. We at no time engaged in any violence against persons or property. The G8 ended on Saturday, July 21st, and about 9 or 10 p.m. on Saturday night, Sherman and I went back to the school in Genoa where we had slept the night before. We were looking for Angeline. Angeline was not there, so I checked my e-mail and sent an e-mail to my parents, telling them that everything was fine, the protests had ended, we were safe, and we were going to leave Genoa first thing the next morning. We considered joining Angeline, who was sleeping at another location (one of many camps in and around Genoa), but by this time we were too tired to find another place to sleep. Anyway, we thought the school would be the safest place to sleep. The camps didn't seem to be safe because we had been told the police had visited them on a number of occasions and the encounters were not pleasant, although not violent. Also, the school was across the street from the Indy Media Center that housed the media, took care of the injured, etc., so we perceived that the closeness gave the school some protection.
Sherman and I lay down in our sleeping bags on the first floor at about 11:00 p.m. We fell asleep. I can't remember if Sherman woke me, or if I woke because of all the noise. Regardless, I woke to crashing and yelling outside. There was chaos everywhere. People were running around trying to collect their belongings. There was a great deal of noise: The police were breaking down the doors and smashing the windows. I later heard that someone had barricaded the doors after the trouble started out in the street and at the media center. I quickly began collecting my belongings, but I didn't manage to get my shoes on or collect my belongings before the police entered the room.
Sherman and I were sleeping behind a wall so we did not have a view of the main entrance to the school. Across the room, the people sleeping there had a direct view of the entry. The first thing I noticed was that the people across the room, which was the largest group of people in the room (there were many more scattered throughout the room), were getting down on their knees and putting their hands up in signs of peace or non-resistance/surrender. All of those across the room, about 15 in total, were doing that. Sherman and I immediately did the same thing. The police rushed into the room. They were dressed in dark clothing, and may have had protective vests, etc. under their clothing because they looked exceedingly bulky. They wore helmets with plastic face covers (riot helmets, I think). They wore heavy boots, gloves, and carried batons (clubs). I am certain no skin was showing on any of them. I later learned that these police were part of an anti-terrorist force called the DIGOS. I know the Italian press has reported that 20 policemen were hospitalized after the raid on the school, but that is difficult to believe based on what I saw and experienced.
The first thing I recall the police doing was kicking a chair into the group of people kneeling on the floor. I could hear things smashing this whole time. A few police (5 or 7 or so) ran into the room. One came over to our corner and, as I was kneeling with my hands extended, he kicked me in the side of the head, knocking me to the floor. Sherman and another man who had been sleeping near us helped me back up to my knees. Another policeman came to where I was kneeling and started beating me with his club. I was up against the wall, and I curled over with my right side against the wall and my hands and arms covering my head for protection. I tried not to move because I thought he would stop beating me sooner if I lay still. I am not sure how many policemen were beating me. I looked up and saw Sherman being beaten. After they stopped beating us, Sherman and I lay curled up by the wall for about five minutes or so. I think at this point the police were bringing people down from the upper two floors.
I noticed that there was a lot of blood around us, and that blood was smeared on the wall. I think it was our blood because we were both bleeding from the head, and I was bleeding from my hands and wrists. About 5 minutes later, the police ordered everyone in the room to go over against the opposite wall. As I was walking across the room to do so, the policeman who told us to move struck me in the butt with his club. We all curled up against the opposite wall. At this point I noticed that my bleeding right hand was swollen, and my little finger was sticking out at a strange angle. Sherman's eyes looked glazed and he wasn't responding to questions normally.
We sat against the wall as more people were herded into the room and basically piled up with us against the wall. All had been beaten, and some had to be carried down the stairs by others who had also been beaten. I was shaking and couldn't stop. We stayed against the wall for 5 or 10 minutes more until paramedics in orange suits started arriving. (I was told later that they were volunteers -- not working for the government). By the time the paramedics started arriving, the original policemen who had done the beatings were gone and the room was full of different police wearing the Carabinieri uniforms (basically riot police).
Every once in a while, the police would take a few people out of the room, making them walk with their hands above their heads and shouting at them and pushing them out. The paramedics began laying the most severely injured out on sleeping rolls and covering them with sleeping bags. Eventually, they got stretchers into the room. All the paramedics did was pass around some rags with disinfectant because they were not equipped to deal with the number and severity of the injuries. I smelled human excrement and blood in the room as I lay against the wall. The man to our left had a severely broken arm and I could see the bone ends pushing up on his skin. It was enormously swollen and he was in extreme pain. The people to our right: one man was bleeding from the head and wavering in and out of consciousness. A girl curled onto the floor and was shaking.
The paramedics told us that everyone who didn't need to go to the hospital was to move to one side. Initially I didn't want to go to the hospital, so Sherman and I moved to that side of the room. The paramedic stopped us and told us we needed to go to the hospital. People were being carried out on stretchers and, about 30 minutes later, we walked out behind the stretcher of the man with the broken arm. Outside the courtyard of the school, there were very large numbers of police, and they were lining up as if to create barriers. I saw some media people and saw flashes from cameras, etc. I covered my face. People were in the windows of the media center and behind the lined up police, and they were yelling "assassini." (assassins). We walked about a block through more police to an ambulance. I could not see where we were going because the windows of the ambulance were opaque. When we got out of the ambulance at San Martino Hospital, I was put in a wheelchair and Sherman was put on a stretcher. Our passports were immediately taken away.
At some point, I was put onto a stretcher bed and pushed into a room where I took my shirt off and they disinfected the wounds on my back, head, and hands. They pulled off as many of my bracelets as would come off. This was extremely painful because both of my hands were so swollen. They took my pants and gave me a hospital gown. They pushed my bed back out into the hallway, which was lined on each side with people on beds and Carabinieri. I lay there for an hour or two (time is hard to measure) before being taken for xrays.
During the time I lay there, I talked to several others in the hall. I got up and went over to Sherman, but I was told to return to my bed. Sherman got up to go to the bathroom, and they took his bed away so he had to lay down on a metal bench.
I had about seven x-rays: both hands, head, chest, ribs, legs, and back (as best I recall). The person who did the x-rays spoke no English; he would just grab me and push me to get into position. It hurt a great deal. When he was x-raying my hands, he wanted them flat on a screen and he tried to force them flat. I cried out in pain.
Neither hand would go flat because of the injuries. Finally, his assistant stopped him and said "roto" (which means broken). After the x-rays, they pushed me back into the hallway.
They told me one bone in my hand had two fractures and that my ribs were also fractured. (After my parents arrived in Italy, I saw another doctor, had new x-rays, and was referred to an orthopedist: three different bones in my right hand are fractured). Both hands and my left forearm were terribly swollen. I was in pain during this time.
At this point, I really started noticing the police (they were the Carabinieri, which are paramilitary riot police). I went to sleep and woke up to see three policemen standing there staring at me from across the hall. I was told that police in the hallways were slapping their clubs into the palms of their hands as threats to those in the beds as they roamed up and down the halls, and also that they were tapping the beds with their clubs.
After another long while, I was taken to have a cast put on my hand and was then returned to the hallway. I was semi-delirious at this point and drifting in and out of sleep.
The American consul came to see me while I was in the hallway. I don't remember the conversation very well. He asked if I wanted my parents informed and I remember saying that I didn't until I knew where I was going to be put. He gave me his card, which I put in my wallet. I woke up being pushed on a stretcher down a hallway into emptier parts of the hospital. It frightened me because I didn't know where I was going. I asked the orderly in Italian several times where we were going and he ignored me. I remember being afraid that I was being taken somewhere to be beaten again. They put me into a room at about 6 a.m. I slept, but kept waking up and realizing that I was in different places. I remember that they took blood. They then put me in a room with a Canadian girl from the school and I slept until about 10 a.m. My clothes had been sitting on a table in the room, and when I woke up everything was gone from my pockets except my wallet, which had been emptied of everything except the money and my identification. They also took the card the American consul had given me. At all times, our room was guarded by Carabinieri, who prevented us from moving around or looking out of the window; eventually ordered us to sit on our beds. Basically, the hospital had been turned into a prison.
The Canadian girl and I were taken to get a CT scan. We were then fed. I was not offered pain medication. We were told to dress, and then escorted from the hospital room and handcuffed together. In the hallway, we were turned over to detention center officers. When I shifted around in the handcuffs to try to get them off the cuts on my wrist that was not in a cast, the detention officers tightened the handcuffs. They grabbed us by the handcuffs and pulled us to the transport van. When we arrived at the detention center, they pulled us out of the van by the handcuffs. As we were being led through the lobby of the detention center, an officer came up and grabbed me by the back of the head. He pushed and held my head downward and yelled something in Italian.
We were never told we were under arrest and never told that we had any rights.
We were put into a detention cell (a square room with a stone floor and no furnishings at all) with about 7 or 8 others from the school, both male and female. We were all very afraid that we were going to be beaten again. Eventually they came and took the males away and brought in about 20-25 females, all of whom had come from the school. During this time, they came and took people out one by one for fingerprinting and processing. They told me to sign some papers when I was being fingerprinted, but I refused. The papers were in Italian. Some girls who had been in there since the night before had not yet been given water or food. About four hours later, we were each given a ham sandwich and water. At about midnight, they gave us 4 or 5 blankets for all of us (we numbered about 31 by then). The windows of the cell were covered by bars and screens only, and the wind was blowing. It was very cold in the cell, and we were trying to sleep on stone floors with our various injuries.
During the whole time, we were repeatedly told differing stories about what was going to happen to us. Sometimes they said we'd be free the next day; sometimes they said we'd be in jail for at least a week; sometimes they said they were going to start taking each of us out individually for "interviews" to see if we would go free; sometimes they said they were going to take us to a different jail that night to sleep and shower.
In the middle of the night, they started taking people out of the cell one by one again. I don't believe anyone was brought back. My turn came around daylight. I was taken into a room where they took my belt by cutting my belt loops. (They had returned my clothes at some point before this). They told me to take out my earrings, so I took out the ones that I could given the fact that my hands were too injured to do much. They made me take my clothes off and stand in front of a man who then asked me if I did drugs or had any health problems. I was taken to another room where they again demanded I take out the rest of my earrings (the ones that remained were thick metal that I could not bend to take out), and all I could tell them was that I could not and gesture at my cast. A guy came in with a knife and gestured that he would just cut them out. Eventually, the two guards bent the earrings enough to take them off and threw them in the garbage. Then they used scissors to cut my hair off (they left a ragged inch or so all over my head). They then put me into a different cell that already contained some of the girls who had been called out in the middle of the night from the first cell.
About noon, I think, they gave us ham and cheese sandwiches and some fruit. Then I was taken out of the cell again and put in a cell by myself. I didn't know why. One of the guards said that maybe I would go free (which, of course, turned out not to be true). While in the cell by myself, I was visited by the American consul's assistant. She told me that my parents had called. She said there were lawyers who were looking into our cases. After I met with her, I was taken to another van and was then joined by about 20 girls who had been in the cell with me. We were transported to Voghera Prison.
We were all put into another holding cell and called out one by one to go to our cell assignments. I was one of the last to be called, but I had drifted in and out of sleep so I am not sure how long this process took. I am sure it was at least four hours. I was put into a cell with three other females from Spain, Canada, and England.
At this point, differentiating the days is very difficult. Basically, I spent one night in the detention center, two full nights in Voghera Prison, and was transported from Voghera to Pavia Prison at about midnight on the third night.
At Voghera, I was fed regularly, had access to a bathroom, and was taken to the yard twice a day for about 45 minutes. I slept on a cot and was given a blanket. I was again visited by the American consul on the second day at Voghera and at this visit I waived my rights under the Italian privacy act so the consul could discuss my situation in detail with my parents.
The first night at Voghera, the Italian prisoners were released. During one of the recesses in the yard, a priest came to us with information about charges being made against us, and a list of weapons the Italian police claimed were found in the school. The weapons listed that I remember were things like Swiss army knives, wallet chains, helmets, sticks (I know there were sticks there that had been taken from banners), and metal poles (the Canadian girl I was with said she saw police cutting open backpacks and taking poles out of the frames). They also said they found two Molotov cocktails.
On the third day, I had a preliminary hearing at the prison. This is the first time I saw my lawyer, and was allowed a two minute session alone with him only after I asked for it. I answered questions from the judge and made a statement to the judge about what had happened to me at the school, the detention center, and in prison. I was formally told the charges against me, which the judge said were resisting arrest, being part of a criminal organization, causing bodily harm to the police, and possession of weapons. I understood that according to Italian law, after the first appearance before a judge, I was entitled to a phone call, which I didn't get. I was taken back to my cell. Later, we were brought down one by one to hear the verdicts in our cases. I was told that I was free to go and would be released in one to two hours. There was no mention of deportation. We waited for many hours in our cell for the anticipated release. Finally, they took us downstairs where they gave us bags with what was left of what was on our persons when we were taken to the hospital. They had us sign a paper saying everything was there. My Italian money that had been in my wallet was gone, and they explained that it had been taken to pay for anything I wanted to purchase in the prison. (I purchased nothing). They said they would keep an accounting and mail the remainder back to me. (My friend Angeline recovered my backpack, boots, sketchbook and coat from the school after the police had finished searching; however, all of my other belongings, including $200 in American money, $300 in travelers checks, and my return airline ticket, were missing).
We were put into another holding cell and then taken one by one to a police van and driven to Pavia Prison. On this ride, the police talked loudly in praising terms of Mussolini and Pinochet. They took us into Pavia Prison and put us into a small room where eventually the German consul came and informed the German citizens of their deportation. Nobody ever told me I was deported. I didn't know what was going on at this point, but we stayed in Pavia for 5-7 hours. One by one, we were again photographed and fingerprinted and told to sign a deportation order. Eventually we were reunited with the males who had been incarcerated at Pavia Prison. We all waited in a room until we were taken to another police van. We were taken to a small airport in Milan (no USA flights) and left there by the police. I heard a rumor that we had 24 hours to leave the country, but was never told that directly. The deportation papers actually said (as translated by the American consul) that we had been taken to the border and were to leave the country immediately from there. This was not true, but we would not have been able to prove to the police, if we had been stopped, that we were left at an airport in Milan with no money, not at the border. None of us had any money, and some had no passports. Two volunteers from a human rights group offered to take us to a safe house to sleep and to try to make arrangements to leave the country. We went to the safe house for the night. Sherman and I were reunited with our parents at the American Consulate the following day.
Sherman and I both saw a private physician and specialists the next day. I suffered extreme bruising on the left side of my body (the right side was not bruised because it was pushed into the wall) and on my back and buttocks. My arms and hands were very severely bruised because I had covered my head with them. Three bones in my right hand were fractured. I flew home with my parents on July 28th.
Although I am grateful for the large amount of media attention the beatings have received in Italy and the rest of Europe, because I am sure the attention hastened our release, I also realize that the focus has been drawn away from the overarching issues and reasons for our presence in Genoa in the first place. I sincerely regret this.
Morgan Katherine Hager
SUBSCRIBED AND SWORN to before me this 30th day of July, 2001.
Notary Public for Oregon
Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001
From: Mark Graffis <email@example.com>
Subject: WSJ: G-8 Protesters Were Beaten, Deprived of Rights by Police in Italy
By YAROSLAV TROFIMOV and IAN JOHNSON
Staff Reporters of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
August 6, 2001
Just before midnight on July 21, Miriam Heigl, a political-science student from Munich, was figuring out a way to get home after three days protesting the Group of Eight summit in the Italian city of Genoa.
As she scanned train schedules posted in the Armando Diaz school complex, some 70 members of an Italian SWAT team smashed through the front door, wielding truncheons and shields, their faces covered with blue and red handkerchiefs. Ms. Heigl and about 30 others were arrested and taken to a police barracks, where the 25-year-old says she was made to strip, humiliated and deprived of basic civil liberties.
Hospital records show that 61 others in the school fared worse -- they ended up requiring treatment for injuries. "All I remember is being hit on the head with a truncheon right away," says Melanie Jonasch, a 28-year-old archeology student from Berlin, "and then I woke up here" -- in a Genoese hospital, where she has had surgery for a broken mastoid bone behind her left ear.
To millions world-wide, the Genoa G-8 summit two weeks ago will be remembered as the most violent in a series of international protests against "globalization," a rallying cry first popularized during clashes at a 1999 trade meeting in Seattle. As the leaders of eight leading industrialized countries met in Italy, TV viewers around the world watched police fight citywide battles with anarchist militants who set dozens of cars, banks and storefronts afire.
But out of the TV cameras' gaze, another scene of violence was unfolding -- on the part of the police. Now, as details of the school raid emerge sketchily, it is turning into a political crisis for the government of Silvio Berlusconi, the pro-American media mogul who ran on a law-and-order platform.
Initially, his government firmly defended police behavior. Mr. Berlusconi said the school raid simply proved "collusion" between the anarchists and mainstream demonstrators. Communications Minister Maurizio Gasparri said it was "a detail" whether "a cop used his truncheon four times instead of just three." The police, in a report a few hours after the raid, said that the school was a "refuge of the extreme fringe of the Black Block," and all those inside were members of that violent, anarchist group.
More recently, however, the government said something may have gone wrong. The judiciary has launched an inquiry into the use of violence during the raid and the treatment of those detained. Parliament has formed a separate commission of inquiry. Interior Minister Claudio Scajola promised last Wednesday that "if some untoward behavior will emerge, and it looks like it is emerging, then it will be severely reprimanded." Shortly thereafter, he removed three top police officials, saying this would make it easier to investigate.
Part of the pressure on the government is coming from abroad, especially Germany. After first helping gather information on 39 Germans arrested in the sweep at Diaz, Berlin is calling for a fuller accounting. German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer delivered that demand to his Italian counterpart in a telephone call last week.
The official inquiries are just beginning, but interviews with numerous participants and witnesses offer the most complete account yet of the events at the Diaz school. The accounts of 19 Diaz detainees, who were interviewed in five countries, and those of doctors, local officials and neighborhood witnesses indicate that heavy force was used to arrest demonstrators who, for the most part, hadn't been organizing the preceding days' violence but had been peacefully protesting. After being denied contact with lawyers and families for anywhere from one to four days, most of the people detained at Diaz were brought before judges, who released all but one and found that the overwhelming majority of the arrests were "illegitimate."
A complete response from the police wasn't possible because the raid is under investigation. In an interview, Francesco Gratteri, head of the national police Central Operative Service, partly defended the raid. "One must take into account that the raid was very energetic because it was met with an equally energetic resistance," said Mr. Gratteri, who stood in the school's courtyard when the police charged in. But he added that "evidently something abnormal happened there, which is why there is an investigation."
For Ms. Heigl, the events began around 11 p.m. on Saturday, July 21. She and her boyfriend, Tobias Hubner, were heading over to the Pertini middle school, part of a group of junior and senior high schools known as the Diaz school complex.
Ms. Heigl was feeling a sense of relief. On Friday, a militant had been shot dead by police. On Saturday afternoon, tear gas had been used to disperse a crowd estimated by the interior ministry at 200,000. As rumors circulated that the police would raid places where the demonstrators camped, such as the stadium where she and Mr. Hubner had been sleeping, they decided they wanted a safer place. They headed for the school, also open to the demonstrators, because it was just across the street from the headquarters and press center for the mainstream organizers.
Eager to Get Home
Back in Munich, Ms. Heigl had been engaged in fighting radical right-wing groups and won a prestigious national award for her work. But this was the first big demonstration she had attended, and she was exhausted from the crowds and flood of information. "Everyone was unsettled and we just wanted to get home," Ms. Heigl says.
After checking train schedules near a computer area on the ground floor, she and Mr. Hubner walked upstairs to visit a friend. Suddenly, panic broke loose. From downstairs she heard cries of "Police! Police!" as the front door crashed open. Then she heard screams and the sounds of police yelling and smashing things. "We had total fear," she says.
Panicked, she and her boyfriend looked for an escape. The school was under renovation, and scaffolding lined the outer walls. They climbed onto it and waited.
Downstairs at the computers, Ms. Jonasch stayed put, figuring that her fluency in Italian would help her explain that she wasn't a violent militant. She says she had been working as a volunteer at the headquarters and hadn't been out to the protests. But she says a group of riot police wearing helmets and body armor charged around the corner, truncheons flying. She says that besides the initial blow to her head, which knocked her out, she was hit on the shoulder and buttocks.
The hospital that treated her received dozens of similar cases. Among patients still there last week was Daniel Albrecht, a 21-year-old cello student from Berlin, who has undergone brain surgery to treat cerebral bleeding and says he hears metallic sounds when he speaks.
Another patient was Lena Zuhlke, a 24-year-old student of Indian culture at the University of Hamburg, who says she was beaten, thrown down two flights of stairs and dragged by the hair. "I didn't see any faces. Throughout all this, I couldn't see anything at all above the knees," says Ms. Zuhlke, her hand on a jar attached to her chest to catch fluid draining from her lungs.
Police, while asserting that all those inside the school were anarchist militants, also have said that any protesters who were hospitalized were extremists injured during earlier street battles. That's an explanation that doctors say doesn't mesh with the cases they saw. "There is no doubt that these wounds were fresh. We had to sew up many of them on the spot," says Roberto Papparo, head of the emergency department at Ospedale San Martino, Genoa's biggest hospital. It dealt with more than 50 injured youths from the Diaz school shortly after the raid, Dr. Papparo says, adding: "If these people weren't brought to the hospital, there is no doubt that some of them wouldn't be alive anymore."
A visit to the school several hours after the raid showed pools of blood on the floor and walls and several teeth strewn around.
Apart from a handful who escaped, all the demonstrators at Diaz who weren't hospitalized -- 32 people -- were rounded up. Ms. Heigl says that after she heard the screaming and saw police beating students unconscious, she and Mr. Hubner feared they would be in worse danger if caught clinging to scaffolding. They climbed into the room, knelt on the floor and put their hands on their heads. That didn't prevent Mr. Hubner from receiving a few blows to the back and head with a truncheon, and a dozen others interviewed say they too were hit while in a submissive position.
Ms. Heigl says she wasn't hit. She was taken to the Bolzaneto police barracks, which had been turned into a holding center for the G-8 summit. Situated inside a vast park-like complex of the national police VI Mobile Division, the center had a series of unfurnished cells that could hold 20 to 30 people each.
Detainees say they had to stand spread-eagle against the wall for two to three hours. They add that police walked up and down the line, beating those whose hands slipped and whose heads weren't bent down. "They kept cursing us and calling us names that I couldn't understand," Ms. Heigl says.
The man next to Ms. Heigl was pulled from the wall and sprayed directly in the face with tear gas, say Ms. Heigl and a protester interviewed separately. He collapsed and was dragged away to be showered. He came back later, shivering, saying he had been stripped naked and left under the water for half an hour. The group was then sent to their cells, and the man had nothing to clothe himself with except a plastic shower curtain, according to Ms. Heigl and the other person, who both say they received just one cookie each to eat on Sunday. At night, they say, they slept on a concrete floor and had just three blankets for 30 or so people.
"We had this feeling that everything was completely arbitrary and that they had lost their minds," Ms. Heigl says. "But now I see that it was all done extremely professionally. They wanted to disorient us and break us, as though they were dealing with a gang of hardened terrorists."
The prisoners were registered on Monday, and their numbers at Bolzaneto police barracks grew as many initially hospitalized were sent over. Among them was Sherman Sparks, a 23-year-old from Oregon spending a year in Europe. He said in a sworn affidavit that he had been kicked in the head and groin during the raid.
He, too, said he had to stand spread-eagle for two hours. He said in his affidavit, which he sent to the U.S. Consulate in Milan, that people standing next to him had broken arms and legs and that one man collapsed, shaking uncontrollably. That incident is related by others as well. WhenMr. Sparks couldn't understand commands in Italian, his affidavit alleges, he was slapped or beaten or his head was rammed into the wall.
Detainees held in different cells and not known to each other paint a common picture of the one to three days they spent in the detention center: Strip searches were common. Men and women alike were forced to use the toilet with police officers, usually men, in attendance. Women were denied sanitary napkins, and requests for medical attention were often refused. Roll calls went on day and night. Detainees were asked to sign documents in Italian that they couldn't understand and then sent back to the cell. Some signed, while others refused. Phone calls and contact with attorneys weren't permitted.
A Little Better
Relief for Ms. Heigl came on Tuesday, July 24, when she was one of the last to be transferred to a normal prison. Before leaving, she says, she was ordered to strip naked again while a man in a blue polo shirt inspected her. Some others say the same thing happened to them. Then they were allowed to dress and eyeglasses taken from some detainees were returned. But rings, earrings and money that had been confiscated were not returned, Ms. Heigl and some other detainees assert.
Many detainees say they felt relieved when they got to the regular prison. There, they had cots with sheets, and three meals a day. Ms. Heigl received a message from her parents.
They had been contacted by German authorities one day after the raid. Her father, Wunibald Heigl, a high-school history teacher in Munich, says the German authorities hadn't called to provide help but to find out as much as possible about his daughter. "We called the German consulate in Milan and were coldly told that everything was going according to procedures," Mr. Heigl says. The German foreign ministry had no comment on the raid, saying it was a subject of bilateral talks.
Detainees say they were given consular access for the first time on Wednesday or Thursday, except for U.S. citizens, whose diplomats visited them hours after the school raid. The detainees were also taken before judges but not allowed to speak to an attorney beforehand.
All were charged with "aggravated resistance to arrest" and "membership in an armed conspiracy to cause destruction." The raid confirmed this membership, the police say. According to their report, youths inside tried to block the entry gate and "engaged in scuffles" with the agents. One allegedly tried to stab a policeman. At a news conference, police displayed a small knife and a half-pierced protective jacket but couldn't name the attacker.
Many protesters interviewed agree that some Black Block militants may have been hiding inside the school. But they say that if present, these militants were a minority and didn't advertise their affiliation.
Local government officials say the center of the Black Block was elsewhere. According to Marta Vincenzi, governor of the Genoa province, 200 to 300 militants had kicked nonviolent demonstrators out of a province-owned gym next to the Martin Luther King High School in theevening of July 19, breaking school furniture inside to fashion weapons. Ms. Vincenzi and other provincial officials say they repeatedly called police with requests to intervene, to no avail. Ms. Vincenzi theorizes that in their raid at Diaz, "police tried to offset their initial excess of tolerance with an excess of vendetta" at the school.
Material seized in the raid suggests the police missed their mark. The police report said the school "was a place dedicated to the strategic planning and material manufacturing, by all persons present inside, of instruments to attack police forces." The chief evidence was two wine bottles filled with flammable liquid plus hammers and nails taken from the construction site on school premises. In addition, the police say they confiscated 17 cameras, 13 swimming goggles, 10 Swiss army knives, four spent tear-gas shells, three cellular phones, two thermos bottles and a bottle of suntan lotion. The charges were presented to a team of judges who decided to free all but one detainee.
Ms. Heigl was released on Wednesday evening. The police initially decreed that she and the other 77 foreign detainees would be expelled from Italy and barred for five years, but Italy later said the ban didn't apply to EU citizens. Ms. Heigl's parents, who had driven to Genoa to find their daughter, followed the police truck that carried her and about 30 others to the Austrian border. There, those released were put on a train to Munich.
Ms. Heigl now will resume work on her master's degree. Earlier this year, she visited Peru to collect material for a thesis on the collapse of democracy under Alberto Fujimori. She says her experience in Genoa has given her a new appreciation of the fragility of civil liberties: "I realize now I didn't have to go all the way to Peru to do my studies."