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Friday, 20 July, 2001, 15:22 GMT 16:22 UK
UK activists on streets of Genoa
British protesters wait for security checks in Modane, south-eastern France
The British protesters' train was delayed in France
UK activists were among thousands demonstrating in Genoa when violence broke out at the G8 summit on Friday.

Police using tear gas and baton charges clashed with anti-globalisation protesters lighting fires, looting shops and pulling up cobblestones.


It is insinuated that there is some moral equivalence between protesters, including violent protesters, and democratically-elected governments

Foreign Secretary
Jack Straw
The trouble began as leaders of the world's richest nations, and Russia, began their annual meeting in the Italian city.

Earlier, asked what would happen if police tried to stop them from entering the sealed-off central "red zone" around the summit sites, one British activist replied: "We go in."

It is not known how many activists have made it to Genoa from the UK.

At least three were deported on arrival at Genoa airport on Thursday, because they were "on a list" supplied by the UK authorities.

But several hundred travelled on a train - dubbed the "Anarchist Express" - chartered by pressure group Globalise Resistance to go from Calais to Genoa.

The train was delayed and diverted before terminating in the Alps, leaving buses to take the protesters on to Genoa.

One of the carriages on the train was used as a meeting room and mobile workshop on civil disobedience covering issues such as how to survive a police baton charge.

Non-violent protests

Former rock star Bob Geldof, in Genoa to lobby leaders for debt relief for developing countries, condemned Friday's violence.

"I just don't think the violence will achieve anything. The debt campaigners have never been violent, and they have achieved a lot," Geldof told reporters.

Riot police in Genoa
Riot police clashed with protesters
On Thursday, one group of UK activists in Genoa, who said they were from pacifist organisation Pink, insisted they wanted peaceful protests.

Tom Jones, 20, a student from Bromley, Kent, told reporters: "We are going to have a party. This is our way to make our point. We in our group are all totally peaceful."

However, another protester warned that he would retaliate if he was provoked.

Hugh, a 24-year-old tree surgeon from Rochester, Kent, told reporters: "If they come and hit my friends, and if we are backed up against the wall, then I'm not going to stand there and take a beating.

"There are plenty of people on both sides who want a fight."

Straw condemns

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw told BBC Radio 4's Today programme he condemned violent tactics.

"The people who are meeting at Genoa are the leaders of freely-elected democratic governments.

"One of the most insidious things about the way this apparent conflict is portrayed, is that it is insinuated that there is some moral equivalence between protesters, including violent protesters, and democratically-elected governments.

"If we go on with that insinuation then we very seriously undermine the rule of law and democracy itself."

He added that globalisation was helping tackle problems in the third world by reducing conflict and promoting democracy.

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See also:

20 Jul 01 | Europe
Clashes erupt at Genoa summit
20 Jul 01 | Scotland
Scots anger at G8 'gagging'
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