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Friday, 27 July, 2001, 20:37 GMT 21:37 UK
Fearsome reputation of the Italian police
Carabinieri in Genoa
The carabinieri are well known to Italian football supporters
The controversial operation by Italian police against the headquarters of the anti-globalisation protester at the G8 summit in Genoa was a joint operation between the state police and the military police, the carabinieri.

The carabinieri, the military police, in particular have a fearsome reputation.

Football supporters in Italy have long complained about the heavy-handed approach of the carabinieri to crowd control.

Like many by paramilitary or police forces, the carabinieri have a reputation for being right-wing.

The funeral of Carlo Giuliani
The funeral of Carlo Giuliani, shot dead by a carabinieri conscript
Much of the coverage of the raid on the Genoa demonstrators' base has focused on the relish with which both police forces are alleged to have attacked the campaigners and the tradition they have of suppressing left-wing protests.

In all 230 demonstrators were injured in two days of violence at the summit, and one was killed by police.

Forces compete

There are three police forces in Italy: the carabinieri, the sate police and the financial police.

Despite the attempts by politicians to integrate the police to a greater degree, and the regular joint operations, forces have very different cultures and the carabinieri and the state police in particular have a competitive relationship.

Injured Spaniard
A Spanish protester displays his wounds
Many of the carabinieri deployed in Genoa were young men serving their year of compulsory military service.

Much of the alleged brutality at Genoa and the killing of one Italian protester have been attributed to the inexperience of the conscripts.

However, newspaper reports in Italy talk of permission being given from high up in the police ranks for a revenge attack on the protesters.


Reports claim that conscripts were fired up against the campaigners by rumours of terrorist attacks and the claim that anarchists were planning to throw bags of HIV-infected blood.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has promised a full investigation into the allegations of police brutality. He and his parliamentary allies have rejected opposition calls for a parliamentary inquiry into the violence during the summit.

However, Italian prosecutors are investigating the allegations against the police.

The BBC's Justin Webb
"An ordeal they say they did not deserve"
Protestor Mark Covell
"I thought I was dying. It's a horrible thing when you hear your bones breaking inside you"
Italian Senator Tana De Zulueta and UK's John Battle
"We've got to ascertain exactly what happened"
See also:

26 Jul 01 | UK
G8 Briton 'feared for life'
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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