Italy: Body Bags Stockpiled for G-8 Summit

Publisher Name: 
BBC News Online

Italian authorities have ordered 200 body bags as they step up
preparations for a violent confrontation at next month's G8 summit
in Genoa, say Italian media reports.

A room at the city's hospital will also be set aside as a temporary
mortuary, said Italian news agency ANSA.

The reports come amid growing concern that the G8 summit will
witness even worse confrontation than last weekend's European
meeting in Gothenburg. Tens of thousands of protesters - from
anarchists to Basque separatists - are expected to head for Genoa.


We view the threats as totally serious, but hope that with joint efforts we can solve all the problems.

--Russian security chief Yevgeny Murov

As well as the threat of street unrest, Italian authorities have been
warned that attempts may be made on the lives of some of the
world leaders present.

One threat passed on to Italy by the German secret service is of an
assassination plan by Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, aimed at
US President George W Bush. Militant supporters of Bin Laden are
said to planning a possible bomb attack.

President Putin's personal security will also be stepped up because
of a possible threat from Chechen rebels, say his bodyguards.

Mr Putin's bodyguards have already visited Genoa and met the
heads of special services from nearly all the countries being
represented there, said Russian security chief Yevgeny Murov, head
of the FSO.

"Each special service works out its own method of providing
security these days. Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service renders
enormous assistance to us, and we are in a permanent contact with
them," he said in an interview with the Russian newspaper
Komsomolskaya Pravda.

He said his agency was aware of the Bin Laden threat, and was
making its Genoa preparations in the light of them.

"We view the threats as totally serious, but hope that with joint
efforts we can solve all the problems," said Murov.

Leaders from Italy, France, Canada, the UK, Japan and Germany will
also be at the two-day summit, which starts on 20 July.

Italian authorities are preparing a huge force of 20,000 police and
soldiers, backed by the threat of tear gas, water cannon and a
formidable array of military hardware.


Italian Plans

  • 20,000 officers (against 2,000 in Sweden)

  • Practice 'war games' being held

  • Tear gas and water cannon lined up

  • 15 helicopters, four planes, seven naval boats

  • Rooftop squads, hidden cameras, satellite surveillance

  • Presidents Bush, Chirac based on aircraft carriers


A "ring of steel" will be imposed on the city. Railway stations and
motorway junctions will be closed, and flights into Genoa diverted.

In the city itself, the streets around the summit venue have been
declared as a "red zone", and will be blocked off by dozens of
armoured vehicles. Outside the red zone, some areas will be set
aside for protesters to make their views known.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has said he wants dialogue
with the protesters, and stresses the legimitate right of people to
make their views known, but he has warned them that violent
extremists will be "isolated and not be allowed to do harm".



Aircraft Carriers

As the security operation continues to build up, some organisers
are still reported to be keen to switch the summit venue to a cruise
ship, which would be moored safely out at sea somewhere along
the Italian Riviera.

At least two conference leaders - President Bush and French
President Jacques Chirac - are already planning waterborne
accommodation. Both will stay on aircraft carriers while attending
the summt.

Concern about security has deepened since events in Gothenburg,
when Swedish police appeared to be overwhelmed by the scale and
depth of violence.

A lavish dinner had to be cancelled and some delegations had to
switch hotels after police said they could no longer guarantee their
safety.

Three protesters were shot and dozens of police officers were hurt.

AMP Section Name:CorpWatch