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Police raid activist headquarters

GSF injured
An injured member of GSF is taken to an ambulance after the raid  


GENOA, Italy -- Italian police have broken into the headquarters of the anti-capitalist group involved in protests at the G8 summit in Genoa, Italy.

Around 10 activists from Italy, Spain, France and Britain were detained during the midnight raid and driven off in a police van, legal sources told Reuters.

European Parliament member Luisa Morgantini told Reuters a police van rammed a gate to get into the grounds of the school where the Genoa Social Forum (GSF) had set up its headquarters and living quarters.

The raid came after riot police launched canisters of tear gas at about 2,000 protesters trying to breach a safety perimeter on Saturday afternoon and after one man was killed during demonstrations on Friday outside the Group of Eight summit.

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Spokesman for GSF, Vittorio Agnoletto, said people in the building were treated roughly during the midnight raid and about 20 of them needed hospital treatment for minor injuries.

A police spokesman said officers seized iron bars, baseball bats and bricks that they said had been used during the first two days of protests.

RAI state television said 50 people were detained and 66 people injured. Police spokesman Mario Viola did not confirm the number of arrests, but said many of those listed as injured had been hurt earlier. Protesters said dozens of people were arrested and dozens of others beaten up by police.

"Police entered this evening with search warrants and took computer discs," Enzo Lefebe, a freelance journalist working for GSF, told Reuters.

The school is located about four kilometres (2 1/2 miles) from the "red zone" encircling the centre of the city, where leaders from Britain, Germany, France, Russia, Japan, Italy, Canada and the United States have been meeting in a 13th-century palace.

Activists, leaning out of windows, shouted "assassins" as police searched the premises.

The GSF was the co-ordinating organisation for the dozens of protest groups that gathered in Genoa, according to Reuters.

Agnoletto said after the raid: "These are not democratic ways of acting. Police did not respect either our civil rights or the constitution."

Senator Luigi Malbarba of the Communist Foundation Party told Reuters: "This was the act of a South American republic."

Saturday's demonstrations kicked off early in the afternoon, when tens of thousands of largely peaceful demonstrators representing some 700 groups gathered to express their displeasure at world trade, which many feel exploits the people of poor countries.

Police estimated the crowd size to be 100,000, while organizers estimated the size at 150,000.

About 5,000 of the estimated 150,000 demonstrators were considered extremists, a top U.S. law enforcement official told CNN.

Meanwhile, the official said, several thousand peaceful protesters have left Genoa because of the violence.

As they marched, hundreds of extremists broke off from the larger group and set fires in plastic bins, overturned cars, broke shop windows and hurled stones at police. Some called the police assassins, referring to the killing by police on Friday of Carlo Giuliani, a 23-year-old Roman who lived in Genoa.

The Italian Interior Ministry said the demonstrator was shot twice in the head in an act of self defence by a member of Italy's national police force, or the "carabinieri." The ministry promised to release results of an investigation into the killing on Monday.

Though the demonstrators were not visible to the world leaders, their message was heard. The conferees issued a statement on Saturday expressing "sorrow and regret" at the killing and urging demonstrators to reject violence.






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