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Year 2001 No. 129, July 25, 2001 ARCHIVE HOME SEARCH SUBSCRIBE

Demonstrations Outside Italian Embassy Continue

Workers' Daily Internet Edition : Article Index :

Demonstrations Outside Italian Embassy Continue

What Was Our Son Like?

Protests against Police Shooting of Derek Bennett in Brixton

Letter to the Editor:
Another Example of the Way in Which the Private Sector Gains

Readers' Forum:
The People of Canterbury and East Kent Have Had Enough of a Second-Class Health Service

East Kent Independent Candidate on Fighting NHS Plan

Meeting of London Political Forum to Condemn State Violence and Terror

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Demonstrations Outside Italian Embassy Continue

Over 200 people demonstrated outside the Italian Embassy in Grosvenor Square last night, Monday, July 23. There were shouts of "Berlusconi Assassin", "Bush, Blair, Berlusconi Assassin". People came by word of mouth and through the web to oppose the brutal police attacks on the G8 summit protestors. A statement was read from the father of Carlo Giuliani, the young man shot dead, about his son and a minute’s silence observed.

Amongst those who had come to protest were many who had just returned from Genoa. One of the members of a group from UNISON Branch in University College London, a domestic worker and shop steward, is in hospital in Italy after being clubbed on the head by the police. He has a haematoma behind the eye with a danger of loosing its sight. The UCL UNISON Branch Secretary addressing the protest described how they were walking up a side street leaving the demonstration when the police attacked, driving a van at them, threw teargas and tried to run them over. Their member was hit with a baton as he was pinned to the wall by the vehicle. They had wanted to go on a peaceful demonstration and tried to negotiate their way out with the police, but what had happened in Genoa, he concluded, was like a massacre by the Italian police. What was important was to learn the lessons and to do something about this, to fight; one thing we know is the movement is getting bigger.

An NUS executive member, Helen Salmon, spoke saying we know we can have a better world than one in which 90,000 children die each day, and the capitalist system shoots people who demonstrate. She condemned the brutal raid on the two school buildings where people sleeping in their sleeping bags were beaten.

Tom Behan from Globalise Resistance who read Carlo's fathers statement described the response of the people in Italy to the killing of the demonstrator on Friday. He said that 100,000 to 150,000 had been expected on the main demonstration on Saturday. But on Friday evening a Genoa Social Forum spokesperson addressed the Italian people through the media, and told them: you have seen what has happened here today, whatever your plans were for Saturday, change them, get on a train, bus, in a car and come to Genoa. He said that 300,000 people came to the demonstration, a fact that received little publicity in the press. It had to start moving off two hours early because there was no more room where people assembled.

Within half an hour of the news of the shooting a spontaneous demonstration had gathered in Rome. There were big protests on Monday, and today there will be protests across every city in Italy.

The strongest theme from every speaker was that the G8 leaders’ attempt to drive people off the streets with fear, violence and brutality was boomeranging and in fact having the opposite effect, the movement is growing in strength and numbers.

A call has gone out for people to come to the protest this Saturday, July 28, outside the Italian Embassy at 2.00 pm.

Article Index

What Was Our Son Like?

This statement was read out at protests outside the Italian Embassy. It is from the father of Carlo Giuliani, the young man shot dead by Italian riot police in the Genoa protests against the G8 summit.

Carlo was 23, he lived in Genoa all his life, his father is a CGIL trade union activist. He said this about his son:

"Nothing is worth more than the life of a young man. Nothing exists which can bring him back to us.

"'What was our son like', people ask?

"Carlo was the exact opposite of what people have written about him.

"He was a boy of great generosity, opposed to injustice, who never did harm to anyone.

"He read, he studied, he discussed, he protested for his ideas. He was always around places where ideas were being discussed, always. He always cared about others.

"And he always worked, if irregularly. He worked in the jobs that all young people are forced to take - in the black economy, without any security, without any rights.

"The press say he had a criminal record. When he was 17 the police misidentified him as a criminal. He was accused of 'aggression against a public official'.

"But the judge laughed the case out of court and cleared him of the charges.

"He didn't accept the notion that eight leaders of the world should decide the life and death of thousands of people. Here in Genoa you do not need to go far to see the victims of their policies.

"All you need to do is to come back after the G8 have gone to see the desperation of those who are left in hunger, those who are forced to flee their own countries, forced to survive without any dignity in the alleyways that surround the harbour.

"On Friday's demonstration he wore a balaclava, yes. But you cannot equate the throwing of a fire extinguisher with a gunshot to the head.

"In some ways we didn't understand each other. I am a member of the Democratic Left - well, I was. Our branch has been closed for months.

"There won't be his liveliness in our house anymore. We won't hear his jokes about football. And we won't have our political discussions anymore.

"But maybe now is the time for new people to open up new branches so we can carry on discussing."

Article Index

Protests against Police Shooting of Derek Bennett in Brixton

Last Friday, July 20, more than 50 people gathered at a vigil at Brixton police station to protest against the shooting of Derek Bennett.

Derek Bennett, reported to be a psychiatric patient, was shot dead by police in Brixton on July 16. He was hit in the back by four bullets. Visiting the scene of the shooting after the inquest had been opened and adjourned, his mother collapsed on the ground, asking, "Why did the police kill my child?"

Speakers at the vigil on Friday condemned the police. They pointed out that this was one in a long line of police murders.

There was a call for a tribunal of the local community and ordinary people to hear the testimony of witnesses, consider the circumstances, and deliver their verdict and decide what action is needed to protect the community from police brutality and get the guilty officers jailed. Other meetings were also called to take further the struggle against the police murders.

After the vigil, a demonstration was held through the centre of Brixton.

WDIE condemns the murder of Derek Bennett by the police, along with all the state-organised attacks against the national minority community. The forces of the state think they can attack and kill whomsoever they choose with impunity. But the people are demanding that this situation must end, and that all such provocative and repressive actions be punished, whether they be against vulnerable individuals, against targeted sections of the people or against political protest.

Article Index

Letter to the Editor

Another Example of the Way in Which the Private Sector Gains

I am writing to you to tell you of a residential home in Broomfield, called Broomfield Lodge, where the staff are stressed out and over-worked. Pay as in all these homes is very low. As one worker put it: on the outside the home looks all right, but inside is another matter. There is need of a new carpet, the walls need decorating and the place is in need of repair. There is a step which leads to the garden in the home where a ramp is needed so that patients don’t fall. All this is the fault of the owner who takes a tidy sum from the patients in the way of rent through the state to stay there. This is yet another way in which the private sector in society gains at the expense of the workers and the people.

Yours fraternally


Article Index

Readers' Forum

The People of Canterbury and East Kent Have Had Enough of a Second-Class Health Service

I would like to bring to your attention the hospital crisis in East Kent.

It was reported in the local papers on July 19 that a man drove his son 200 miles for an operation to remove glass from his body after they had waited two days for treatment at Kent and Canterbury Hospital.

The son, aged 21, had not been allowed anything to eat or drink because he kept being told an operation was imminent, which would be under general anaesthetic. After waiting at the hospital for two days, the young man was told by a surgeon he still had no time to carry out the operation and could not guarantee it would be done the following day. His father rang their local hospital in Abergavenny, South Wales. He was told if they were able to make the trip, the operation would be done within hours of arrival. Father and son drove through the night and arrived at Abergavenny Hospital at 5.30am. The operation was performed within hours.

"We cannot fault the staff at Kent & Canterbury Hospital," said the young man’s grandmother. "They were wonderful." She added, "The staff at K&C are working under terrible conditions. The surgeon was working flat out on more serious emergencies and said he just did not have the time to operate … what a position in which to put overworked staff and the patients. How can they think of downgrading K&C?"

The local newspaper comments that there is nothing unique about this story. Earlier in the year, a young mother was taken on a similar journey when the hospital ran out of neo-natal beds.

The newspaper reports that an average of 400 patients a month in East Kent have their admissions cancelled. A total of 250 have been waiting more than 15 months for surgery. A further 929 have been waiting for at least a year. The paper comments that no one appears to want to take responsibility for this abject performance. The people of Canterbury and the district have had enough of this second-class health service and the newspaper calls for an immediate inquiry into the failures at K&C and a halt to further reduction in services.

Two councillors are also calling for an urgent and far reaching investigation into the state of the district’s three main hospitals. They are also calling upon Health Secretary Alan Milburn to re-appraise the East Kent Health Authority’s plan for the future, Tomorrow’s Healthcare, in the light of changing circumstances.

Everyone knows and can see that the hospital workers are not to blame, but they still get the sharp end of the hospital management’s tongue.

Article Index

East Kent Independent Candidate on Fighting NHS Plan

Shortly after the general election, David Shortt of Concern for Health in East Kent (CHEK), who had stood as an independent candidate for Thanet North, wrote welcoming the election of Dr Richard Taylor in the Wyre Valley.

In a letter to the Kentish Gazette, David Shortt said that this brings into sharp focus the anger and bitterness that has been caused by the closure of Kidderminster Hospital’s A&E department and the moving of vital emergency services to a hospital which is not geographically central. He points out that the hospital reconfiguration in South Worcestershire is almost a carbon copy of what is planned for East Kent.

David Shortt writes of the extraordinary ground swell of public opposition, sending a clear message to politicians and bureaucrats who stubbornly refused to listen. Referring to the almost universal support for CHEK’s campaign while canvassing during the election, he says that he hopes that "Tomorrow’s Healthcare" can be stopped before it happens, and before any irrevocable damage is done.

The letter notes that the elected MP has stated that he did not want to see the expansion of services at other hospitals "at the expense of the K&C". But, says David Shortt, that is exactly and precisely what is planned. We must get angry now, and not wait until it’s too late to do anything about it.

Article Index

Meeting of London Political Forum to Condemn State Violence and Terror

A special meeting of the London Political Forum is to be held on Wednesday, August 1, at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London, beginning at 7.30 pm.

The special meeting of the London Political Forum is being convened by London Region RCPB(ML) to condemn the state violence and terror against the protesters against imperialist globalisation, in Genoa, in Britain and world-wide. The LPF will invite all those concerned to end this violence, stop the criminalisation of political protest and discuss the way forward for the movement against imperialist globalisation to come to the meeting and give their views.

All comers are welcome to attend and contribute to the discussion.

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