Several injured in G8 university protests

May 21, 2009

Tuesday 19 May 2009

Several people were injured during violent clashes between anti-globalisation protestors and security forces on Tuesday in Turin, northern Italy, during a G8 meeting on universities.

The troubles lasted for an hour after a number of the 3,000 demonstrators tried to force their way through a police blockade to access the architecture faculty building where 40 university deans from around the world were meeting.

The protestors, mostly students and far left militants, threw stones and bolts at the security forces who then charged the demonstration and fired tear gas.

According to Turin police, 19 members of the security forces were injured during the clashes with some demonstrators also receiving medical treatment. Two students have been arrested.

Witnesses told Italian journalists that the most virulent protestors were foreigners, in particular French.

By mid-afternoon, calm had returned to Turin’s city centre.

“I believe that there is a feeling of general discomfort amongst the students that I share, ” said Francesco Profumo, dean of the Polytechnic University of Turin, during the closing press conference after the meeting of academics. “We didn’t hide ourselves and are actually ready to have dialogue with the students.”

Italian far left movements are mobilising their militants to organise more demonstrations during the next G8 meeting. Protests are already planned for next week in Rome when justice and interior ministers are due to meet to discuss security issues.

The G8 summit of heads of state and governments is to take place in Italy in July.  In a move to avoid such incidents during the summit, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has decided to organise it in the city of L’Aquila, saying that any anti-globalisation protestors would not dare to create trouble in a region that has just been hit by a fatal earthquake.

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