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Riot police clash with anti-globalization protesters in Naples, Italy

A IMC eyewitness report on the massive anti-globalization protests at the Global Forum meeting in Naples, Italy, where demonstrators were attacked and scores injured by riot police firing tear gas and rubber bullets. Check out IMC Italy and Global IMC for ongoing coverage.
Saturday, March 17: IMC Daily Report from the No Global Network demonstrations in Naples,Italy.

At 8:00 am, there was a mad rush to wake up and leave the squatted faculty of architecture, as we were to gather at Garibaldi station at 9:00 am, where squatted trains arrived: one from the south, two from the north.

The city of Naples is hosting the Global Forum, a conference that has the potential to create an e-governmental institution that will control and regulate internet and telephone communications globally.

The particular focus is increasing and spreading internet technology to the third world. Today is the final day of the conference. Judging from the size and scope of previous actions this week, we knew that the demonstration today would be massive.

We were right: 15,000 to 20,000 people were in the streets of Naples. From the minute the march began, hundreds of city police and military police blocked every side street, bank, and McDonalds along the route.

The group from the squat marched to meet the crowd waiting at Garibaldi Station. The crowd was a diverse mix of political elements: Kurdish refugees, a myriad of anarchist groups, COBAS (a federation of trade union syndicalists), pacifist and student collectives, communists, and everyone else in between. We then began the march to the Global Forum conference centre.

The police contained the march from almost all sides; only a few side streets were open. Along the way, a few dozen cans of spray paint were emptied on the walls and the anarchists had a short battle with the police. Rocks were thrown, and a computer store was destroyed. The police responded by charging the crowd and dispersing the first wave of tear gas. Minutes later, we arrived at the Plaza Plebiscito which is directly across from the conference centre

A faction of the march went right to the Plaza Borsa, where a major clash with the police quickly began. Hundreds of demonstrators came prepared to fight with helmets, masks, giant plexiglass shields, sticks, rocks, and a few Molotov cocktails.

The battle lasted for about 30 min, ending in some injuries on both sides. Meanwhile, police in the surrounding areas gassed and charged the rest of the crowd, clubbing everyone within reach. By this time much of the crowd was in a panic, but there were not many avenues for escape. After much gas and fighting, large groups of protesters surrendered and were led out of the plaza by the police.

The crowd, in general, dispersed, but several groups remained to fight. While they held their own against the police, they eventually had to retreat. At this moment, the majority of the demonstrators are back at the squatted university building, but many have been arrested. Also, all of the injured that were hospitalised had their names taken by the police.



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