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Italy to hold G8 protests inquiry

Police lead away a man injured in the riots in Genoa  

ROME, Italy -- An inquiry is to be held into police action during the G8 summit protests in Genoa in which one man was shot dead, it has been announced.

Premier Silvio Berlusconi's conservative forces had opposed an investigation, but legislative leaders in Italy's Chamber of Deputies announced an agreement on the inquiry on Tuesday, The Associated Press reported.

The announcement came shortly after the Senate scheduled a vote of confidence in the interior minister over the way the protests were handled.

The summit in July, which attracted at least 100,000 protesters, was marred by violence and claims of police brutality both at home and abroad.

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graphic G8 Summit: Genoa 2001

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The investigation will look at the cause and responsibility of violence and particularly try to shed light on allegations of police brutality, said Reuters.

It fell short of the full parliamentary commission some on the centre-left had called for. The investigators will write a report for the government, while under Italian law, parliamentary commissions have some powers of the judiciary, including the power to subpoena witnesses to testify.

Berlusconi said last week there would be no cover-up over the way the police handled the situation, and Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi has said he will hold him to that pledge.

"I hope and wait for full light to be shed on what happened," Ciampi said on Monday. "It's what everyone in Italy wants."

Berlusconi's conservative forces in parliament had been blocking opposition calls for a parliamentary inquiry, prompting the move towards the vote of confidence in Interior Minister Claudio Scajola.

The motion criticising Scajola, due to take place on Wednesday, is expected to fail, but would force his resignation if it succeeds, AP said.

There has been international pressure on Italy for an inquiry into the Genoa violence, while magistrates have begun several investigations into alleged police brutality.

Police initially arrested 280 people, many of them from outside Italy, though many have now been freed.

One protester, 23-year-old Carlo Giuliani, was shot dead by a 21-year-old paramilitary police recruit.

He was the first person to die in a demonstration in Italy in 25 years and the first ever to die in violence linked the anti-globalisation protests that have become a feature of international summits in the past two years.

• G8 summit
• Italian police

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