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Italy30 October 2002

European Social Forum in Florence : Reporters Without Borders asks Italian president for measures to guarantee security of journalists

Paris, 29th october 2002

Mr. President,

Reporters Without Borders asks you to do everything possible to ensure that the European Social Forum that is to be held in Florence from 6 to 10 November is not marred by any repetition of the violence that took place at the G8 summit in Genoa in July 2001.

Nineteen journalists covering the G8 summit and anti-globalization protests were physically attacked by security forces or demonstrators from 20 to 22 July 2001.

Reporters Without Borders was outraged at the behaviour of the Italian police. The police used appalling violence in their raid against the press centre on the night of 22 July. The various buildings housing the anti-globalization associations, the Indymedia network and many news organisations were forcibly stormed by the police. Three journalists were hospitalised in a critical condition and several others were injured, brutally kicked by police or hit with police batons or shields. Computer and camera material was confiscated or destroyed.

Those shocking events are engraved in the memory of the victims and all those who, like Reporters Without Borders, cherish human rights and press freedom.

Italy has the means for maintaining order that are compatible with the security of both demonstrators and journalists covering these international gatherings. We urge you to take all necessary measures to ensure that the European Social Forum in Florence is not the occasion for any more of these excesses, which are unworthy of a democracy.

Sincerely,

Robert Ménard Secretary-General




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