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The BBC's Jon Manel
"Attention is already focusing on the next high profile summit"
 real 28k

Belgium's Europe Minister talks to the BBC
"Holding summits in Brussels will make these events much more normal"
 real 28k

Monday, 18 June, 2001, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Gothenburg leaves summits in disarray
Gothenburg unrest
The Gothenburg riots overshadowed summit business
Urgent security reviews of forthcoming summits are under way after the rioting which marred the European Union's Gothenburg summit.

Next month's G8 summit in the Italian city of Genoa is expected to see a dramatic new approach to security, with fears that protesters may be spurred on by their success in disrupting the Swedish event.

Swedish riot police aims his gun as an injured colleague lies on the ground
Swedish police were criticised for not being sufficiently prepared
The suggestion is even being raised that the Genoa summit might have to be moved to a warship or cruise liner to guarantee the safety of delegates - who will include US President George W Bush.

The Belgians, due to host the next EU gatherings - at Ghent in September and Laeken in December - will also be watching anxiously.

In Gothenburg, the massed forces of anarchists, anti-globalists and other protesters appeared to overwhelm Swedish police, who eventually opened fire, shooting three protesters.

Why Swedish police weren't tougher
Rubber bullets - none in force's possession
Tear gas - considered too imprecise
Water cannon - too bulky and difficult to manoeuvre
Newspaper reports say the authorities in Italy held an emergency meeting on Sunday in the wake of Gothenburg, to decide how to prevent history repeating itself in Genoa next month.

The authorities are planning a "ring of steel", in effect closing the city to the outside world. Railway stations and motorway junctions - and possibly even the city's airport - will be closed to prevent an estimated 100,000 demonstrators reaching the city.

A force of up to 20,000 police and troops is being trained and is rehearsing scenarios from street battles to terrorist attacks. Tear gas and water cannon are being prepared, and helicopters, planes and rooftop squads will back up the huge force on the ground.

Italian plans
20,000 officers (against 2,000 in Sweden)
Practice 'war games' being held
Tear gas and water cannon lined up
Fifteen helicopters, four planes, seven naval boats
Rooftop squads, hidden cameras, satellite surveillance
A fleet of armoured trucks will seal off dozens of city streets leading to the conference venue - the city's palazzo ducale (Duke's palace). Satellites and hidden cameras will help monitor protesters' movements.

If the situation is still considered too risky, a switch of venue - holding the talks on a warship or even a cruise liner - will be another option.

The protesters were said to be planning an even more violent response than Gothenburg, to take "revenge" for the three shot protesters, one of whom was critically injured. Some reports speak of a "carnival of violence" being planned for the summit, which starts on July 20.


Both sides will be expecting trouble so there's bound to be trouble

Anarchist on Genoa
Anarchists have chartered a train to carry protesters to Genoa, billing the 120 round trip from Calais as a chance to "shut down" the summit.

One anarchist told BBC News Online the protests would be "significantly bigger" than Gothenburg, as the event had been "flagged up more" in left-wing circles.

Italian anarchists were seen as role models, he said, and the police force was considered far tougher than the Swedish equivalent.

Goran Persson
Swedish PM Persson said violence was a tragedy
"Both sides will be expecting trouble so there's bound to be trouble," he said.

As well as the street protests, guerrilla attacks are also considered a real risk. Reports say the German secret service has warned of a bomb threat to President Bush by Islamic militants, backed by the Saudi dissident, Osama bin Laden.

As the seriousness of the riots in Gothenburg unfolded, Swedish Prime Minister Goran Persson announced a new European team would look at how to improve security at future summits. A system for pooling information on violent protesters, similar to that already used for football hooligans, is expected to be considered.


These groups of delinquents must be tackled in a severe and consistent way

German Interior Minister Otto Schily
The interior ministers of France and Germany also issued a statement calling for an urgent meeting with their counterparts, demanding a "co-ordinated and hard" response.

Germany's Otto Schily backed the idea of the football-style crackdown, which would ban known troublemakers from leaving their own countries at key times.

"It was clearly shown at Gothenburg that violent criminal gangs are systematically trying to disrupt political summits," said Mr Schily.

Protester
Anarchists are reported to be chartering a train bound for Genoa
"These groups of delinquents must be tackled in a severe and consistent way."

French President Jacques Chirac was caught on camera expressing his worries about the policing, saying it was very dangerous and people could have been killed.

Swedish police officials have defended their actions. They were criticised in some quarters for their handling of the protests, and for their apparent lack of sufficient preparation.

Damage to the port city is estimated at millions of dollars and more than 500 people were arrested.

Gothenburg toll
Around 1,000 people detained
56 officers hurt
Three protesters shot
Damage estimated at $10m
The Swedish Government blamed anarchists from Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands for much of the trouble, although several British people are also reported to have been held.

A shocked Mr Persson described the situation in Gothenburg after the rioting as a "tragedy".

European leaders angrily denounced the rioting, saying it had threatened democracy and overshadowed the causes promoted by other peaceful protesters.

The trouble eclipsed the outcome of the summit meeting, which included a declaration that some of the countries currently negotiating membership of the EU can expect to join in 2004.

The protester critically injured in the Swedish shooting was reported on Monday to be out of danger. The two others suffered less serious injuries.

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See also:

18 Jun 01 | Media reports
European press reacts to Gothenburg
16 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blair: Anarchists will not stop us
16 Jun 01 | Europe
Swedish press critical of rioters
15 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Blair denounces EU protesters
15 Jun 01 | Europe
Gothenburgers count the cost
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