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Thursday, 26 July, 2001, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
G8 Briton 'feared for life'
Mark Covell
Mark Covell intends to sue the police
A Briton seriously injured in Genoa says he feared for his life as he was allegedly beaten unconscious by police.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Mark Covell told the BBC he intends to bring a case for attempted murder against the Italian military police.

He said he was determined to sue the police after he was allegedly attack at a school and left with a punctured lung, broken ribs and internal bleeding.

I really thought I was dying

Mark Covell
The 33-year-old broke down in tears as he recounted to BBC Radio 4's Today programme how he was surrounded by police when they raided a school where he and his friends were staying.

He is one of five Britons released without charge after being arrested in the aftermath of street fighting in Genoa at the G8 summit on Saturday.

The four others are back in Britain after being deported from Milan airport.

Mr Covell, who is still recovering in hospital, said he had hired a local lawyer in Italy and had video footage of the incident.

He said: "I ran smack into a Carabinieri. I didn't stand a chance".

He says he was hit over the head, pushed against a wall and fell to the ground where 10 policemen hit him non-stop for five minutes.

'No mercy'

"They were kicking me, punching me, hitting me with their batons and their shields.

"There was no mercy.

Summit violence
Violence surrounded the weekend summit
"I opened my eyes and began to realise what was going on around me.

"There was about 400 Carabinieri in the street and I was the only activist there".

As he lay on the ground he says up to 50 more police officers charged past kicking him as they ran.

"For a time it was just endless. I really thought I was dying.

It's a horrible thing when you hear your bones breaking inside you

Mark Covell
"It's a horrible thing when you hear your bones breaking inside you.

"I just tried to keep one eye open and stay alive."

He said he was attacked for a third time by police before he eventually blacked out.

Armed guard

He woke up in hospital where for four days he was kept under armed guard.

Mr Covell, a journalist who works for a group that publicises anti-capitalist demonstrations, has pledged to begin legal action against the police when he gets home.

He categorically denied he was involved in any street fighting, saying he was doing office work.

He said claims that rioting was going on at the school were untrue and the notion that he was arrested on suspicion of being a member of the Black Block anarchist group, was "preposterous".

The first phone call he made home was on Wednesday night after the BBC interviewed him.

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See also:

22 Jul 01 | Europe
Genoa counts the cost
22 Jul 01 | Europe
Eyewitness: Genoa police raid
21 Jul 01 | Media reports
Newspapers lament Genoa violence
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