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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 March, 2004, 12:36 GMT
Tense start to Genoa riot trial
Protester held by police at Genoa G8 summit
The defendants say the real criminals were police
Anti-globalisation activists have gone on trial in the Italian city of Genoa, accused of taking part in riots at the G8 summit there three years ago.

A total of 26 protesters are charged with vandalism, robbery and illegal possession of explosives.

The defendants, who face up to 15 years in jail if convicted, deny the charges.

The trial began in a tense atmosphere, with demonstrators outside the court saying they were brutally beaten by police at the summit in July 2001.

More than 700 police, many in riot gear, were deployed to guard the courthouse and monitor the demonstration.

Those who devastated Genoa should not pass themselves off as victims
Claudio Scajola
Italian cabinet minister
"We are here because we haven't forgotten," said one protester on Tuesday.

"This trial is a symbol of the fact that the wrong people are criminalised. The real criminals are the Group of Eight," he said.

During the summit a 23-year-old demonstrator was shot dead by a policeman.

The officer was investigated by prosecutors, but the case was thrown out by a judge who ruled that he was acting in self-defence.

Mayhem

Cabinet minister Claudio Scajola - who was in charge of security at the time - told AGI news agency on Monday that "those who devastated Genoa should not pass themselves off as victims".

Genoa summit violence
Some demonstrators at the 2001 Genoa summit turned to violence
About 100,000 anti-globalisation protesters descended on Genoa in July 2001.

Small groups threw stones, bottles and incendiary devices at police.

Shops were looted and hundreds of cars wrecked.

An internal inquiry into police actions during the summit resulted in disciplinary action against the head of Italy's anti-terrorism unit, the country's second highest-ranking police officer and the Genoa police chief.




SEE ALSO:
Genoa protesters to stand trial
04 Dec 03  |  Europe
France rings G8 town with steel
29 May 03  |  Europe
Genoa protester case dismissed
05 May 03  |  Europe
Genoa police 'admit fabrication'
07 Jan 03  |  Europe
Police admit excess in Genoa
08 Aug 01  |  Europe



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