In the eve of the new millennium, the anti-globalisation movement was very strong. Parties, labour unions, collectives, a whole generation of new people from around the globe were aligned behind the slogan that was first heard in the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre: “Another world is possible”, demanding democracy, and rejecting the doctrine that capitalism is the end of history.
In this vibe, and on the occasion of the three-day meeting of the eight most powerful economies of the world (G8), that took place in Genova, Italy, on 20-22 July 2001, hundreds of thousands of protestors from the whole world began to gather in the northern Italian city to demonstrate against globalized capitalism and neoliberalism Armageddon that was slowly unraveling also in Europe.
Police forces and the Italian government authorities tend to show their intentions right from the beginning. Genova seems like a fortress. Carabinieri prevent protestors in the harbor from reaching the city, while access to G8 meeting location is impossible. Preliminary checks even in the houses of “suspects” took place during the week before the three-day affairs and the dragnet tightens, as the crucial days are approaching.
Despite all crackdown, an immense number of protestors from a wide political spectrum smashes the fear and assembles in the city centre. Clashes break out simultaneously in many different places of the city, police forces make extended use of chemicals and protestors respond with rocks. Those who lived those moments, speak of an unprecedented crackdown situation, compared to European up to date figures. Police forces bashed about the gathered crowd and they are using everything they’ve got.
In Piazza Alimonda, a square in the city centre, a police vehicle is attacked by a protestors block. Someone from the crowd, 20 year-old Italian Carlo Giuliani, bends to take hold of a fire extinguisher from the ground, in order to throw it to the police vehicle. At the moment officer Mario Placanica sees Giuliani approaching the car, he points and shoots a bullet directly to the head. Carlo collapses to the ground, covered in blood. But the incident was not over yet. The driver of the vehicle, after the shot and while Giuliani is lying on the tarmac, puts the car in reverse and passes over the young activist’s body, stops for a bit, then forwards again passing over him for a second time. Carlo Giulani is dead.
The forensics report that followed will introduce new evidence to the case. Coroner Marco Salvi, and doctors that examined Giulani’s body concluded that the twenty-three year-old man was still alive when the police car passed over him, whereas they rejected the police’s story that Mario Placanica’s bullet hit Giulian after it ricocheted. The court, as if it didn’t consider the doctors’ and coroners’ reports that examined the young man’s subject, adjudged that both policemen involved in the incident were innocent, claiming self-defense.
The ending of Carlo’s Gialiani case was largely the determining factor that angers thousands of young people around the world that were seeing themselves in the face of the twenty-three year-old fighter.
It is true that the Italian state did everything to wipe away Giulani’s rememberance and bury the massive crackdown that was enforced in Genove those three days in July 2001. But that wasn’t enough. The motto “Carlos lives” didn’t fade away amongst those who fight for a better world with no exploitation.