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Violence at G8 summit in Genoa leaves one dead

Despite tightening border controls, thousands of demonstrators have successfully reached Genoa


The G8 summit in Genoa has been marred by thousands of anti-globalisation protestors who have descended on the Italian city. One demonstrator was killed while at least 46 others were reported injured after police fired water cannon and tear gas at protestors to force them away from the summit venue.

In a separate incident, seven opponents of globalisation temporarily occupied the German honorary consulate in the southern Swiss city of Lugano.

The honorary consul, Bianca Maria Brenni-Wicki, said the group stormed the building to protest at Germany passing personal information to Italy.

Earlier in the week, the group was turned back at the Swiss-Italian border as they attempted to make their way to Genoa by bicycle.

In the past few days, Switzerland and its southern neighbour have attempted to prevent troublemakers from reaching Genoa by tightening border controls.

On Thursday seven German tour buses were held up for several hours at the border with Basel, and at least four passengers were prevented from continuing their journey.

In another move to assist the Italian police, Swiss authorities have passed on information about anti-globalisation activists who might be travelling to Genoa. The move has triggered controversy that data protection might be compromised.

Swiss anti-globalisation demonstrators also expressed their anger at not being able to travel freely by staging protests on the Swiss-Italian border during the course of the week. On Wednesday night, around 150 dancing protestors blocked the border post at Chiasso for three hours.

However, despite these efforts, thousands of demonstrators successfully reached Genoa. As leaders were preparing for talks inside a heavily barricaded venue, protesters were readying themselves by making shields of cardboard and stocking up on lemon juice to fight the effects of tear gas.

At lunchtime about 200 demonstrators tried to enter the "red zone", a nine-square-kilometre area near Genoa's port, where the summit leaders are meeting, dining and sleeping. Police fired teargas to block the demonstrators streaming toward the prohibited zone.

On Friday senior officials of the seven wealthiest countries attended one-on-one meetings before the formal opening. In addition to discussing the global economy, the summit intends to endorse the creation of a new global health fund to tackle Aids and other infectious diseases in poor nations.

Earlier on Friday President George W. Bush arrived in Genoa from Britain, vowing to push for a new round of world trade talks. Further on the agenda of the three-day meeting, which is being held in the city's Palazzo Ducale, is the recession in Japan, the economic downturn in the United States, poverty in developing countries and the Middle East crisis.

swissinfo with agencies


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