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Italian police admit G8 brutality

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and Interior Minister Claudio Scajola, during a debate on July's G8 summit in Genoa  

ROME, Italy -- The head of the Italian police has admitted that some of his officers used excessive force against protesters during last month's G8 summit in Genoa.

Chief Gianni De Gennaro, speaking before a parliamentary fact-finding commission on Wednesday, said that strong and immediate action would be taken against any "occasional and individual unlawful behaviour" on the part of the police.

The heavy-handed police response to the Genoa protests, in which one anti-globablisation activist was killed and more than 200 injured, resulted in widespread condemnation.

In the aftermath of the protests three of Italy's highest-ranking law-enforcement officers, including Gennaro's deputy and the head of Genoa police, were removed from their posts.

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While insisting that the violence had been started by "violent criminals," Gennaro conceded that there had, in some cases, been "an excess use of force from certain units."

The scenes of mayhem witnessed in Genoa from July 20-22 have left other Italian cities reticent to host international summits.

The mayor of Naples, fearing a repeat of the Genoa anarchy, requested on Tuesday that a scheduled NATO summit in her city be postponed, or held elsewhere.

"The atmosphere in the country is overheated," mayor Rosa Russo Jervolino said in an interview with La Republica newspaper. "Putting it off would be opportune as we run the risk of massive protests."

"I have no intention of seeing Naples turned into a military fortress like Genoa and then destroyed by anarchists," she was quoted as saying in The Times newspaper.

Her comments came just days after Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said a U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation conference, scheduled to be held in Rome on November 5-9, should also be moved.

He suggested that the 180 leaders of the U.N. member nations should meet in Africa instead.

• Italian Parliament (in Italian)
• Naples, Italy

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