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Saturday, 21 July, 2001, 01:58 GMT 02:58 UK
Protester's death mars Genoa summit
demonstrator with petrol bomb
Police sealed off the summit area with huge barricades
An anti-capitalist protester in his 20s has been shot dead in clashes with police during the G8 summit in the Italian port city of Genoa.

Italian Interior Minister Claudio Scajola said the man was shot dead, presumably in self-defence, by an injured police officer.

Thousands of anti-globalisation demonstrators fought running battles with police for hours as the leaders of the world's richest countries and Russia - the Group of Eight (G8) - held their first day of talks.

Genoa issues
Impact of US slowdown on world economy
Relaunching global trade talks
Launching $1bn global health fund to tackle Aids and other diseases
Easing poverty in developing countries
Efforts to combat global warming

"The death occured during a violent assault on a carabinieri vehicle which led to the injury of some troops inside," said an Italian interior ministry statement.

Witnesses said a young woman was seriously injured after being run over by a police vehicle in the same incident. And a policeman is reported to have suffered serious injuries in the clashes.

The Italian authorities expressed shock at the demonstrator's death and appealed for the protesters to withdraw from the city centre.

Virtual fortress

The BBC's Barney Mason says the death has darkened the mood of the summit and has reawoken questions about whether such meetings can go on being held inside a virtual fortress amid serious violence.

Clashes have marred similar international gatherings in the past two years, including summits in Seattle and Gothenburg.

Click here to see map

US President George W Bush called the demonstrator's death "tragic".

The French President, Jacques Chirac, said global institutions needed to listen to the voices of the protesters.

A hundred thousand people don't take to the streets unless something has seized their hearts and minds

Jacques Chirac

Protesters dressed in black started fires, smashed windows, looted shops, broke into banks and post offices and pulled up cobblestones to hurl at the security forces.

Police responded with tear gas, water cannon and baton charges, leaving several people with blood streaming from head wounds.

The authorities say more than 50 protesters and at least 30 police officers were injured in the clashes.

Health fund

Plumes of smoke hung over the city as the G8 leaders met behind a ring of steel and concrete.

demonstrator smashing store front
Protesters wrecked shops and set fire to property

They were not expected to heed the protesters' calls for the cancellation of poor countries' debts.

But the UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, said the G8 agreed to create a $1bn fund to fight Aids and other diseases worldwide.

He praised the pledge, but said much more was needed.

Global slowdown

The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US noted that the world economy had slowed more than expected over the past year and they promised to remain "vigilant".

For the first time, we are seeing the emergence of a response to this deadly disease that begins to match the scale of the epidemic itself

Kofi Annan

But they said "sound economic policies and fundamentals provide a solid foundation for stronger growth," downplaying fears of a global recession.

The political leaders condemned the violence in Genoa and said they would not allow it to prevent meetings like the G8 going ahead.

The demonstrators - protesting over what they see as the adverse effects of globalisation on poorer countries - held banners reading "Zero Debt" and "People Not Profits".

The clashes erupted about 1.5km (one mile) from the medieval palace - the Palazzo Ducale - where the G8 summit is being held, just outside the "red zone" exclusion area surrounding the summit venue.

BBC staff were instructed to leave the riot area after a camera crew was attacked by a group of anarchists.

The BBC's Malcolm Brabant in Genoa says the violence has drowned out the message of peaceful protesters in a sea of petrol bombs, tear gas and now blood.

Developing countries invited

In an effort to make the summit look less like a "rich man's club," the G8 leaders dined with heads of developing countries on Friday evening.

African leaders, including South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, are in Genoa to present their plan for Africa's renewal, the New Africa Initiative.

Mr Mbeki has warned that over a five-year period Africa will need at least $10bn - just to tackle Aids.

here to return)

Map shows "red zone", the exclusion area for the summit, and the outer "yellow zone", which has been breached by protesters.

The BBC's Bridget Kendall
"The violence has forced its way onto the agenda"
The BBC's Andrew Marr
"Genoa feels like a city under martial control"
The BBC's Bill Hayton in Genoa
"I can see a body of a man lying dead on the road"
Mara Vanderslice of the Jubliee USA Network
"We do think these sort of meetings are important"
Charles Secrett of Friends of the Earth
"We are getting increasingly concerned about the escalating violence"
See also:

20 Jul 01 | Europe
In pictures: Mayhem in Genoa
20 Jul 01 | Business
Economic vigilance needed warns G8
20 Jul 01 | Business
G8 leaders focus on world poverty
19 Jul 01 | Europe
G8 protesters take to the streets
19 Jul 01 | Europe
Bush's agenda for Genoa
15 Jun 01 | Europe
Gothenburgers count the cost
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