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Monday, 3 June, 2002, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Police charged over Gothenburg summit
Gothenburg unrest
The riots caused serious damage to the city
Four policemen have been charged with misconduct for their behaviour during clashes with demonstrators at the European Union summit in the city of Gothenburg last year.

The country's public prosecutor says the four used unnecessary force when trying to contain a group of demonstrators.

These are the first charges brought against police in relation to the summit.

Swedish riot police aims his gun as an injured colleague lies on the ground
Police seemed unprepared for the scale of the violence
Swedish police are the second force in Europe to face legal proceedings.

Italian police are also being investigated on suspicion of violence against anti-globalisation protesters at last year's G8 summit in Genoa.

The Swedish public prosecutor, Agneta Blidberg, said the four policemen had been in charge of holding a group of about 80 demonstrators against their will, close to the school where they were staying.

The charges against them include obstructing freedom of movement and the use of unnecessary force.

The policemen deny the charges.

'Indefensible' action

Many of the activists who were present accused police of using excessive violence and abusive language, and said they were forced to lie on their stomachs for an hour in the school's outdoor courtyard.

Television footage showed several bloodied activists being escorted out of the school.

Ms Blidberg said the officers' actions were "indefensible and offensive given the point of the action".

Police said they had received information that one of the activists in the school was armed.

Ms Blidberg said it had taken a year to indict the officers because prosecutors had had to question a large number of people.

Italian violence

At the time of the Gothenburg summit, both protesters and police faced strong criticism when several demonstrations turned violent.

In one incident, a demonstrator was shot and wounded by a policeman.

About a month after the summit, an anti-capitalist protester in his 20s was shot dead in clashes with police during the G8 summit in the Italian port city of Genoa.

Some 77 Italian police officers are also being investigated on suspicion of violence against demonstrators in a pre-dawn raid on a school.

Hundreds of police and protesters were injured in street battles as world leaders met in the city.


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25 Jul 01 | Europe
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