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Protester Killed at G8 Summit in Italy

Aired July 20, 2001 - 12:14   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: We want to check out some breaking news, we understand, taking place in Genoa, Italy at the summit of the G8. We understand a protester has been shot in the head.

Our Alessio Vinci is standing by with the latest -- Alessio.

ALESSIO VINCI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Daryn, I can confirm the demonstrator has been killed. But we cannot confirm at this point that this was a shooting incident. We just came here a few minutes ago. And we've seen a body on the ground covered by white sheets.

Since then, an ambulance came here and took the body away. But at this point, the only thing we can confirm is that this protester has been killed. There have been strong -- very heavy demonstrations and heavy clashes between the police and the demonstrators earlier today. This is a group of anarchists that have come here, it appears, specifically prepared to wage their own personal war against the security services here who are trying to secure the entire area and the perimeter surrounding around the G8 Summit.

We understand that those demonstrators here who have clashed with the police, with some 80,000 to 100,000 protesters who have converged here to Genoa. The so-called anti-globalization protesters who have here to Genoa to protest the G8 Summit, these are a small group of anarchists who have been clashing -- who have been clashing with the police earlier today and then throughout the afternoon.

And after several hours of very strong, strong confrontations, very -- a lot of nervousness between the police and those demonstrators, about 10 minutes ago, one of the demonstrators was killed. However, we do not know at this point whether the demonstrator was shot dead or not -- back to you, Daryn.

KAGAN: Alessio, the pictures we're looking at right now, it looks like things are pretty intense in Genoa. I don't know how long ago these pictures fed in. But has the situation calmed down since that shooting took place?

VINCI: Certainly, here in this area, the situation has calmed down. However, as early a half an hour ago, there were still some clashes going on between the police and the protesters. They have been going on now for several hours.

And, again, I must stress out that this is just an isolated group of demonstrators who appear to have come here just in purpose to provoke the police. The vast majority of the demonstrators who have come here so far have kept their protest very peaceful. But the situation at this point here, we are about two or three miles away from venue where the summit is taking place. It is now completely (INAUDIBLE) also, of course, because there is a lot of policemen right here now trying to keep some reporters away -- back to you.

KAGAN: So this situation is actually some distance away from where the world leaders are meeting?

VINCI: It's about, I would say, two miles away from where the world leaders are meeting. But Genoa is not a very big city. And, you know, the entire city center has been cordoned off by some -- by a high wall of iron fences.

And, therefore, it has been very difficult for the demonstrators to reach the area where the summit is taking place. And this particular incident actually took place in the so-called "Red Zone," which is where the police have been cordoned off the areas around the summit.

Throughout the day, the policemen have been trying to prevent those demonstrators from coming closer to the Red Zone. Therefore, the -- this incident -- if it is indeed a shooting incident -- took place pretty much away from where the summit is taking place.

KAGAN: Alessio, can tell us anything else about this protester that appears to have lost his or her life?


VINCI: Daryn, I'm sorry. An ambulance just went by. And I couldn't hear you.


KAGAN: Yes, I realize it's loud with the sirens.

Can you tell us anything else about this protester that appears to have lost his or her life?

VINCI: We have no idea. The only thing I can tell you is, I just saw the body on the ground covered in a white sheet. And now his body has been taken away. Nobody here is willing to give me information from the security forces.

We haven't been able to see any eyewitness -- or receive any eyewitness accounts of what happened here. The only thing we know is that this demonstrator is indeed dead and that it happened about 20 minutes ago. It was about 6:00 local time here -- p.m.

KAGAN: Then tell me more about this group that you call the anarchists. Is that their name or is that just the word you are using to describe this big group of people?

VINCI: Well, this is a group of really right-wing extreme militants who have been traveling around Europe, if you want, trying to take advantage of any situation were there is the potential for clashes with the police. These are demonstrators who have nothing to do with the anti-globalization movement that we have seen, for example, in other areas in recent months.

This is a group of -- we understand from earlier reports that some of them are coming from Germany. We understand from the German Interior Ministry earlier today that they have contacted the Interior Ministry here in Italy warning the Italian authorities here that a group of violent demonstrators was arriving in Genoa with a bus.

And we understand that these are the people who are the most responsible for those clashes. But, again, this is very important to point out. We've heard throughout this preparation of the summit how this so-called Genoa Social Forum, an umbrella group that was grouping all the protesters, was trying to keep these protesters peaceful. They say that their ideas are valid and that the best way to present their ideas to the world was by not provoking violence.

We heard yesterday from one of those groups. They said they were going to try to breach -- to go through the police barricade. They have not attempted to do that, because, of course, the police today have been pretty much in clashes with those anarchists. And, therefore, we have heard also one of the organizers of the protests calling on the demonstrators to leave one of the areas where they were demonstrating and return to their camps, because, of course, the police have been very much busy with those strong group of anarchists, who have really created an entire havoc.

I'm telling you, I have been walking around the city center, if you want, in the so-called "Yellow Zone." That is the zone buffering the Red Zone and the rest of the region here. And it really looks like where those demonstrators have been going through, there's cars overturned. There's a lot of destruction. These people here really came here to destruct not just the summit, but they came here to really wage a special war and their own personal war with the police.

KAGAN: And, Alessio, if you could just tell us one more time what you know about the events that led up to the situation where one protester appears to have lost his or her life.

VINCI: Well, this was the worst-case scenario that the police would have prepared for. They were fearing that, eventually, in those clashes with demonstrators, one -- perhaps one policeman could have -- felt scared and then take out a gun and try to protect himself.

But, again, we cannot tell that this a shooting incident. What we know is that the police certainly had prepared themselves not to provoke the demonstrators, not to come into direct contact with demonstrators. But, however, unfortunately, despite all the barricades and despite all the attempts by the large groups of demonstrators not to provoke the police, this small group of demonstrators really came here, again, tried to really go head to head against these policemen.

And I think having seen what happened here earlier today in other parts of Genoa, how these demonstrators were really coming very close to these policemen and really trying to provoke them, I think that what happened here, if indeed it is a shooting incident, while it probably could have been expected very much so, because, I mean, I'm telling you, these people were extremely angry, extremely violent.

And the police have been trying as much as possible to stay calm, to keep things under control. But when a group of 300 or 400 people really start creating all this havoc, it is really very, very difficult for the police to get things under control.

KAGAN: Alessio Vinci reporting on that breaking news from Genoa, Italy -- Alessio, thank you very much. We will be checking back with you.

Once again, one protester apparently losing his or her life as they protest at the G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy. But, as Alessio was pointing out, it appears that there are two completely separate groups of protesters there. He believes that this took place in a group of what they are calling anarchists, people who, as Alessio reported, came to Genoa with the intent of wreaking havoc.

And it appears they have.



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