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Black Block Part 3 (Athens, Rostock, Genoa)

Athens-Rostock-Genoa

Greece, Athens (May 2006 – March 2007)

Revisiting down the memory lane the year-long student resistence to the neoliberal reform of higher education, by means of squatting hundreds of universities all over Greece and weekly protests and riots leading to the massive demo of 8 March 2007, that turned into a fierce lengthy riot outside the greek parliament in Syntagma Square in Athens, that changed and shaped the way of protests in Greece in the critical events of years to come (December Revolt 2008, Indignados summer of 2011, anti-austerity protests etc.), by moving the field of prolonged protests and street fighting around the greek parliament.

Germany, Rostock (2/6/2007)

In the period after the Berlin Wall, the German black bloc movement continued traditional riots such as May Day in Berlin-Kreuzberg, but with decreasing intensity. Their main focus became the struggle against the recurring popularity of Neo-Nazism in Germany. The «turn» came in June 2007, during the 33rd G8 summit. A black bloc of 2,000 people built barricades, set cars alight and attacked the police during a mass demonstration in Rostock. 400 police officers were injured, and also about 500 demonstrators and activists. According to the German Verfassungsschutz, the weeks of organisation before the demonstration and the riots themselves were amounted to a revival for the militant left in Germany. Since the «Battle of Rostock», traditional «May Day Riots» after demonstrations every 1 May in Berlin, and since 2008 also in Hamburg, became more intense, and violence of the autonomen against police officers and political enemies at demonstrations of radical left groups have dramatically increased. In Egypt after the Egyptian revolution in year 2013 Egyptian Black Bloc Movement appeared to protest against President Mohamed Morsi policies and protect protesters from the police violence

Italy, Genoa (21 July 2001)

Incident

Carlo Giuliani, born in Rome, was the son of Giuliano Giuliani, a CGIL trade union activist, and Haidi Giuliani, who after his death would become a Senator for the Communist Refoundation Party. On July 20, 2001, Giuliani was participating in a protest against the 27th Group of Eight summit in Genoa, Italy, when he was killed during a violent clash between protesters and Italian Carabinieri in Piazza Alimonda. A Carabinieri vehicle, with two officers inside, became stuck and was attacked by protesters, wielding metal poles and wooden boards. In the midst of this clash, Giuliani, who was wearing a blue ski mask, picked up a fire extinguisher and raised it. He was shot in the face at point-blank range by the Carabiniere Mario Placanica. Giuliani was also run over by a Land Rover and may have been alive when it happened.

Aftermath

In the case against Carabiniere Mario Placanica, evidence was given by a ballistics expert that the fatal bullet had «ricocheted off plaster». All charges against Mario Placanica were dropped when Judge Daloiso, who presided over the case, concluded that the fatal bullet that struck Giuliani was not directly aimed at Giuliani, and ruled that Placanica had acted in self-defense. The case was not taken to trial.

However, during a later trial in Genoa of some demonstrators allegedly involved in clashes the same day Giuliani was killed, the same forensic doctor, professor Marco Salvi, who had been a consultant to Silvio Franz, the prosecutor who led the case against Mario Placanica, testified that Giuliani had been the victim of a «direct hit», thus contradicting the evidence previously given and laying doubt on the decision made based on the alleged change of direction of the bullet. The conclusion of Judge Daloiso, which had already been subjected to strong criticism, was challenged by the press, as was the decision not to charge the driver of the Land Rover for running over Giuliani on the basis that he was already dead. Medics tending to Giuliani after he was run over testified that his heart was still beating, and this was confirmed by professor Salvi during the trial in Genoa. To confuse the situation further, in late 2003 Placanica told the Bologna daily Il Resto Del Carlino that «I’ve been used to cover up the responsibility of others.» He claimed that the bullet found in Giuliani’s body was not of the caliber or type fired by the pistols of the Carabinieri, and claimed the deadly shot had come from somewhere in the piazza outside. After making this statement, Placanica was involved in a «suspicious» car accident, days after allegedly observing someone tampering with his car. Placanica was allegedly kept in seclusion following the incident, and his parents were not allowed to visit him in the hospital.

On August 25, 2009 the European Court of Human Rights notified in writing its judgement in the case of Giuliani and Gaggio v. Italy. It judged no excessive use of force was used and it was not established that Italian authorities had failed to comply with their positive obligations to protect Carlo Giuliani’s life. The Court did judge Italy has not complied with its procedural obligations in connection with the death of Carlo Giuliani and has awarded a total of 40.000 euro in non-pecuniary damage to the three applicants. In 2010, the case was referred to the Court’s Grand Chamber on appeals from both sides; the Grand Chamber has held in 2011, that there had been no violation of the European Convention, although seven judges from seventeen dissented. On June 24, 2013, Giuliani’s relatives filed a civil suit against former police officer Mario Placanica and deputy police commissioner Adriano Lauro regarding his untimely death.

Legacy

Carlo Giuliani has become a symbol of civil unrest during the G8 summit in Genoa. Various musical groups have paid tribute to Carlo Giuliani through songs or dedications,e.g., the English group Chumbawamba dedicated their version of the traditional World War II anti-fascist Italian partisans song «Bella Ciao» to Giuliani, during their 2001 tour,Propagandhi dedicated their song, «Resisting Tyrannical Government» to Giuliani, the anarcho-punk band Conflict released a song in his memory, titled «Carlo Giuliani», and the Spanish band Ska-P also has a song about Carlo, titled «Solamente por pensar». In other examples the Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini in 2004 wrote a song about Carlo Giuliani and the G8 summit incidents, named «Piazza Alimonda»; Giuliani is also mentioned in a song by Italian rapper Nesli, and «Zeta Reticoli» by the alternative rock band Meganoidi was dedicated to him. Giuliani was also mentioned in the valencian band Orxata Sound System song «VIOLÈNCIA». In 2001, the Italian composer Luca Francesconi wrote «Let me Bleed», Requiem for Carlo Giuliani for mixt choir on text by Attilio Bertolucci. The North American Outspoken Word Troupe of political poets published a piece entitled «A Tale of Two Giulianis» contrasting Carlo to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Piazza Alimonda, the plaza where Giuliani was killed, was unofficially renamed «Piazza Carlo Giuliani» by activists, who erected a memorial there for mementos, photographs, writings and flowers. This memorial has since been set on fire twice. Another memorial, instituted at the expense of his parents, features simply the words «Carlo Giuliani, boy.» In 2007, the Communist Refoundation Party renamed its Presidential Office in the Italian Parliament after Carlo Giuliani. Giuliani’s mother, Haidi, was elected Senator for the party in the 2006 election specifically to begin a parliamentary inquiry into Carlo’s death. After the exit from the parliament of PRC by the result of 2008 election, the name was changed.

In 2002, Francesca Comencini directed a documentary film titled Carlo Giuliani, ragazzo about the shooting. It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival. The 2005 film Dot.Kill directed by John Irvin described the Giuliani slaying as causing violent anti-globalist splinter groups to proliferate, as a possible motive for the online slayings of CEOs portrayed in the film.

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