Migrants march at G8 protests in Genoa


The major event on Thursday was the migrants march, organised by the GSF in support of the rights of refugees and immigrants. The march was starting quite late in the day though, so we still had some time before we had to make our way down.

We spent a while in the morning talking about what we could expect to happen on Friday, and coming up with some ground rules for our affinity group. For example, we made it clear that we'd all pull out of an area if some people were worried about their safety - nobody would be sent back on their own, or made stay somewhere when they wanted to retreat. Since we didn't plan to be right at the front of any actions, we agreed it was important that we kept an eye on sidestreets and avenues of retreat, to make sure the Block wasn't cut off. We also discussed rock-throwing, and thought it was often a bad idea, for the simple reason that often its more dangerous to other demonstrators than to the police. Finally, we practiced forming and moving in lines, and made a list of stuff we still had to buy, before going on one last shopping trip.

At the G8 migrants demonstration in Genoa

We gathered at the GSF that afternoon, and made our way from there to the assembly point for the migrant march. It was about a mile away, and there was an almost solid line of demonstrators strung out between there and the GSF. There were a few thousand people around the piazza when we arrived, but it was clear that things weren't going anywhere yet, so we joined up with some anarchists we'd met in Pinelli, and went down a street to a spillover from the assembly point, where we found a group of anarchists. The march started off maybe forty minutes later, but our reward for turning up on time was to end up near the end of the march. In other circumstances this would have been a minor irritation, here it meant that we didn't leave the assembly point for at least another hour. But at least we had several hundred anarchists chanting "No Justice, No Peace - Fuck the Police" and "Viva, Viva, Viva l'Anarchia" to keep us company (apparently there was another anarchist section nearer the front of the march, made up of people who'd arrived later. The march was more than long enough to have held two anarchist blocks, each unaware of the other).

[A Personal report from a Workers Solidarity Movement members of an event they took part in or attended, these reports are posted to the Ainriail list when first written] Note: Pictures are ultra compressed a week or so after they are uploaded to this site to save space on the server.

This is part 2, preceeding this report is Irish anarchist reports from Genoa

The atmosphere on the march was upbeat, and very relaxed. The weather was good, and there were no expectations for the march, so people just took the opportunity for a stroll through the streets of Genoa. There was the usual fun and games - groups of people stopping for a minute to let a break in the march open up and then charging into the gap, banging on the walls and shouting when we passed through a tunnel, or alongside a row of shipping containers - and no real anger. The aims of the march were vague, there were no obvious targets for the protest (like a government building or detention centre), hardly any migrants had turned up, and there certainly wasn't any direct action taken. So it was all a bit Grand Old Duke of York-ish, but given what was to happen over the next couple of days it wasn't too bad, and besides, 60,000 people on a migrants march, however uncontroversial, is always a good thing.

There was only one incident during the march. At one stage the march turned a corner at a junction, and someone threw a stick (or a bottle) at the lines of police sealing off the other road. The reaction was immediate - people scattered from the flashpoint, started shouting "no violence", and then a line of anarchists ran up to form a line between the march and the police. It was a great example of self-policing - we'd all agreed it wasn't the right time or place to start a fight with the police, and acted quickly to make sure that decision stood.

The Irish ship at Genoa

Eventually the march passed near our campsite, and since it was now about 7 or 8 in the evening we decided to break off, though not before arranging to meet with some other anarchists that evening to discuss Friday. The Pinelli centre was being used that evening for a gig, and after running through some other alternatives, some groups decided to meet up in Almaro.

Not long after we got back to the campsite though, it started lashing rain. It turned into a full-scale thunderstorm, and a lot of plans were messed up that night. The campsite meeting was impossible, but some of us did get together for a few minutes to find out that the COBAS march would be passing near the site in the morning, and that we could assemble there to link up with them. (We later heard that the Tutti Bianci had to cancel their planned training session that evening, and hold it in the morning instead, which can't have helped their organisation. I'm sure everyone else was equally thrown off by the weather)

The left in Genoa

We spent the rest of the evening in the café just outside the campsite. The owner must have made a fortune that night, it seemed there was over a hundred people there, jammed into the shelter of a tiny café to drink the place dry and bum cigarettes off each other. It was lucky we went there though, because that's where Joe met Marco, a Genovese guy who worked in the garage across the road, and who would be a great help to us over the next few days?

Friday: An Irish anarchist on the Black Block in Genoa

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