BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: UK: Wales
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Sunday, 29 July, 2001, 13:47 GMT 14:47 UK
G8 protestor to sue 'brutal' police
riot police
Police fought battles with anti-capitalist protestors
The Welsh protestor held by police following riots at the G8 summit in Genoa has pledged to sue the Italian government over "brutality."

Norman Blair, 38, originally from Newport claimed he was "kidnapped and tortured by the Italian state" after police raided a school used as a headquarters by anti-globalisation campaigners.

Summit violence
The police said anti-capitalist protesters started the violence
Mr Blair, now living in Haringey, north London, told the BBC's Breakfast With Frost on Sunday: "I have contacted lawyers in Italy and I'm going to be taking legal action against the police in Italy, as is everyone else who was arrested in that school that I have talked to."

Hundreds of people took part in a demonstration against the alleged violence outside the Italian Embassy in London on Saturday.

'Beat up'

Mr Blair said more than 100 officers stormed the school and beat him and four other colleagues during three days in police custody.

The vow came as Swansea East MP Donald Anderson called for a full government inquiry into the week's violence.

He said some of the protestors had made serious claims.

The police went in with ambulances and attacked people with batons and tear gas

Melanie Cooper, girlfriend of Norman Blair
Demonstrators arrived in Genoa for the summit of the world's top eight world leaders to protest at globalisation, third world debts and corporate capitalism.

There were chaotic scenes on the streets as protestors - both organised groups and individuals - were involved in violent clashes and running battles with riot police, who had endeavoured to seal the centre of the city with a fence.

The leaders continued with their discussions on the economy, globalisation, health and other issues although the event was marred by the violence.

'Badly hurt'

Mr Blair, who was born and grew up in Newport before going to school in Leeds, was with the Genoa Social Forum group and claimed he was asleep at the school when police entered.

His girlfriend, Melanie Cooper from Wrexham, told BBC Wales: "The police went in with ambulances and attacked people with batons and tear gas, took people to hospitals and took them to prison after that.

Jack Straw
Jack Straw received assurances from the Italian government
"As far as I know, if he was hurt it was only minor, but a friend he was with had his arm broken and a blow to the head and another was badly hurt and is still in hospital.

"He isn't a member of any group but just went with a couple of friends because he cares about the state the world is in."

Mr Blair was in Genoa with Daniel McQuillan, 35, Richard Moth, 32 and Nicola Doherty, 27, and Mark Covell, 33.

'No cover-up'

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is examining claims that the Britons had to wait longer than Spanish detainees for meetings with their national consuls.

The Italian prime minister, Silvio Berlusconi, told parliament there will be no cover-up of his government's handling of the policing.

He assured the British government the events would befully investigated.

Norman Blair said he placed no trust in such an investigation.

He has denied suggestions he and his colleagues were behind the summit's riots.

Norman Blair, protester
"It disgusts me"
See also:

22 Jul 01 | Europe
Eyewitness: Genoa police raid
26 Jul 01 | UK
G8 Briton 'feared for life'
22 Jul 01 | Europe
Genoa counts the cost
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Wales stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Wales stories