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Monday, 16 July, 2001, 18:25 GMT 19:25 UK
Genoese asked to 'adopt a protester'
Italian Carabinieri control two bikers in Genoa
Italian authorities have stepped up security measures
By Frances Kennedy in Genoa

With just days to go until the G8 summit will paralyse their city, the residents of Genoa are being asked to "adopt a protester".

The Genoa Social Forum, which comprises more than 700 protest groups, is desperately trying to find more accommodation for the multitudes of demonstrators.

We are working round the clock to ensure that all those who want to participate can get some sleep

Carlo Bachschmidt
Genoa Social Forum
"There have been about 100 phone calls in response to our appeal, but many people are leaving town for the summit and lots of those involved already have their houses full up," explained Carlo Bachschmidt, an organiser with the forum.

Gymnasiums, parish halls, basketball courts, scout dens and political party headquarters have all been commandeered to provide if not a bed at least some free floor space for sleeping bags.

Bed shortage

But delays in deciding where the protesters could be lodged - a sensitive issue for both sides - mean they are still 10,000 beds short.

It is expected that most of the demonstrators will be from Italy and will come for the main protest event - a march on Saturday 21 July - before returning home. But activists from abroad will be looking to make their trip worthwhile.

Anti-globalisation protester
An estimated 120,000 protesters are preparing to come to Genoa
So far, the Genoa Social Forum and the council have managed to sort out 10,000 sleeping places in the open and another 10,000 under cover, but they are still at least 10,000 short of the mark.

"We are working round the clock to ensure that all those who want to participate can get some sleep," said Bachschmidt.

People are encouraged to bring sleeping bags and some basic food supplies. Tents are also welcome.

Subsidised pasta

The Italian government has put aside 3bn lire ($1.5m) to look after the expected influx of organisations who challenge the G8's record on tackling poverty, protecting the environment and relieving debt.

Apart from beds, our next biggest concern is water

Gianni Ferretti
Genoa Social Forum
"Apart from beds, our next biggest concern is water as it's fiercely hot here in July and the main event, the march on 21 July, takes place in the afternoon," said Gianni Ferretti of the forum's logistics unit.

"We have confirmation via our communication networks and travel bookings that some 120,000 will be here for Saturday," Ferretti said.

"We have a truck full of water to distribute, but have asked the council to install regular hose points and get a truck that can carry drinkable water," he added.

Several catering companies have been given the contract to feed the protesting masses.

The bigger restaurant points will be able to turn out 1,000 meals at a time at "prezzi politici" - slightly subsidised prices. A plate of pasta is expected to cost around 6,000 lire ($3).

The Genoa Social Forum has also appealed for volunteers to help with translating, medical and legal assistance. Fifty have already been chosen and they hope to have several hundred in action next week.

See also:

16 Jul 01 | Business
Debt issues crowd Genoa
14 Jul 01 | Europe
Global protests breed new media
11 Jul 01 | Europe
Genoese fear a summit storm
13 Jul 01 | Europe
Flashback to summit flashpoints
15 Jun 01 | Europe
Gothenburgers count the cost
13 Jul 01 | Europe
Who are the Genoa protesters?
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