From: "Giuliano" <>
Date: Fri, 26 May 2000 14:08:44 +0200
Subject: [caravan99] (en) Italy, Genoa: 10,000 close up biotech exhibition
A determined, battling demonstration closed up yesterday for a few hours the 1st worldwide biotech exhibition in Genoa. But victory is not limited to this, and the exhibition is doomed to a real FIASCO. Alas, we count several wounded among comrades and 2 arrests of youngsters accused of having broken down the glasses of a bank. But let's proceed in good order.
Many thousands demonstrates gathered since 9 AM in front of the station Genoa Brignole for the so called (by the media) Italian Seattle. There was people from all over Italy, and loosely, comrades from Switzerland, France and Germany. More than 400 grassroots groups endorsed this demonstration: there were the Anarchists from Milan, Genoa and Rome; the Social Centers from all over Italy, a lot of groups from the "Green galaxy", Greenpeace, WWF, and a lot of other people. Also two political parties, the Greens and the Refounded Communist Party, decided to drop any exhibition and join a
demonstration which openly called for Civil Disobedience to close up this new offspring of global speculation.
At 10.30 AM the demo started. Despite the working day, we were 10,000 and more. The head of the demo was taken by the promoters, the coordination "MobilTebio"; immediately after, at least 1,000 White Coveralls ready for civil disobedience with gas masks, shields and paddings all over the body -- but no offence arms, no sticks, stones or bottles. Just all what you need to face peacefully a police attack. Behind, there were the Anarchists and after the rest of the people. Greens and Refounded Commies closed the demo. And that was a mistake, because they could not avoid the infiltration
of the group of youngsters which later on -- for the extreme joy of media, cops and politicians of all sorts -- would have attacked and broken the windows of a bank, causing a police attack when we were still far away from the exhibition, our real target (wake up, babies: banks are insured, uhu!). Without losing time, we marched directly from the station to the exhibition, guarded by 3,000 antiriot policemen. Once arrived, the confrontation was almost immediate. We wanted to enter, they wanted to keep
us out and away, while some dozen CEOs and "scientists" were inside deciding our future protected by an entrance fee of 350 dollars (and think that the exhibition's official slogan was: "Biotechnology: to inform yourself is natural" -- quite an expensive bit of information!). A first police attack started when the White Coveralls advanced almost till the entrance gate -- it was wild, and coordination was made extremely difficult by an helicopter flying all the time some 10 meters above our heads! However, the White Coverall's protections were good enough to resist the attack and push back the cops against the gate.
There followed an half an hour full of tension, then came the second police attack. This was extremely difficult to contain, because they attacked on two sides (front and right side) and the right side was not protected by the padded-up White Coveralls, so people had to resist with bare hands. And there we had the wounded comrades, at least 4 -- one reached in a leg by something unknown, maybe a rubber bullet, was taken to the hospital.
However, also the second attack was pushed back, and the exhibition was besieged. Under a very hot sun, more than 5,000 people kept on yelling slogans blocking the entrance gate. Nobody could enter or exit anymore, not even the cops which retreated themselves behind the closed gates. The large square in front of the exhibition was completely ours!
Finally, they gave up, and the exhibition was suspended for the whole afternoon. This announcement raised a lot of enthusiasm among the demonstrators, which slowly started to move toward the "MobilTebio Village", where a camping was set up a week ago and large tends host the coordination point, an exhibition of biological products and (one) the people arriving in Genoa without tend. Today, Friday, there will be a conference with the participation of Mr. Nanjundaswami, from KRRS, South Indian farmers union.
So, we showed again that people determination and clever civil disobedience can have a strong impact on the apparently unmodifiable global mechanisms.
In front of our protest, the only choice for them was to close down the exhibition. But this, as said, is not the only victory. The Italian government withdrawn its endorsement to the exhibition. Half of the biotech companies invited did not show up, fearing protests. Exhibitors of other industrial products (the Genoa exhibition is quite large, and the biotech exhibition was not the only one going on these days) denounced a sudden drop of visitors, asking the biotech organizers to pay damages; and many Italian cities declared themselves "biotech free territory", i.e. no biotech activity will be allowed on their territory. In short: it was a good kick in their fat asses. And when the demo was
over, I could see from the deserted parking in front of the exhibition few large Mercedes exiting the exhibition gates and running away as fast as possible in the Genoa traffic -- a symbol of the isolation into which we are throwing the whole biotech business. Let's go ahead, and sink them definitively!
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