European Summit in Sweden, Police Also Fired on Protesters
a Prelude to Bloodier Police Action in Genoa
following is an edited version of an article in the July 2001 issue of International
police repression will be the abiding memory of the European Union summit in Göteborg, Sweden, which began on Friday, June 15, with three demonstrators
wounded after having been shot by police.
the streets of Göteborg filled with groups of demonstrators, from the morning on
the police attacked them with dogs. This resulted in a violent response to the
violence of the attack. Throughout the day groups of demonstrators were harassed
by police officers on horseback-whereas the organizers of the afternoon
demonstration had the agreement of the authorities that mounted police officers
would not be used against demonstrators.
in the morning, the police charged peaceful processions, trying to divide them.
It was at this point that the first barricades, later set on fire, were built to
protect the demonstrators. Moreover, the latter were attacked on several
occasions by bands of neo-Nazis, apparently tolerated by the police.
to the organizers about the anti-capitalist march, Tommy Lindqvist of the
Socialist Party (SP, Swedish section of the Fourth International) denounced this
attitude at a press conference held at 6 p.m. on Friday: “The responsibility
for what is occurring falls entirely on the police. They provoked the
demonstrators from the beginning.” (Quoted in “Cronica detallada de los
sucedidos en la ciudad de Gotemburgo durante las manifestaciones en contra de la
Cumbre Europea,” Equipo Nizkor, <email@example.com>, June 17, 2001.)
Svenson, representative of the SP on the June 18 demonstration steering
committee (which brought out 15,000 demonstrators), told the SP’s weekly, Internationalen
(June 19 issue): “The media behaved scandalously. They echoed verbatim the
police version of events without even trying to look at any other account of
heads of state may have been privately critical of Sweden’s Social Democratic
Prime Minister Goran Persson. (Television viewers saw French President Jacques
Chirac tell him, “This is very dangerous. You could have killed people.”)
the official line was different. British Prime Minister Tony Blair said, “It
is significant that we did not yield an inch to these people.” French Premier
Lionel Jospin asserted that the demonstrators should “be dealt with—with
absolute determination.” Finally Otto Schilly and Daniel Vaillant,
respectively German and French Ministers of Interior, both Social Democrats,
meeting on June 17 in Berlin, called on the European Union to adopt “a common
and tough attitude against this new form of extremist criminality which crosses
and Tactics of the Anti-Globalization Movement
noting that “the exasperation of certain militant milieus and social layers is
real,” Christophe Aguiton, in the name of ATTAC, stressed: “We are in favor
of non-violent demonstrations. We do not take part and will under no
circumstances take part in acts of a violent nature. But nothing justifies the
use of the firearms which were employed in Sweden.” (Interview in the French
newspaper Liberation, June 18, 2001.)
organizations or networks in the movement against capitalist globalization, such
as the German “autonomes,” try to surf on the increasing exasperation of
radicalized youth, who see their future obliterated by the stranglehold of the
multinationals on the resources of the planet that all of us depend on. These
organizations, not much interested in the extension of the movement, in building
its mass base, try to transform the demonstrations into scenes of looting. In Göteborg, provocations by the Swedish police helped to swell their ranks.
its leading article, the June 19 Internationalen wrote: “The attitude
of the Socialist Party toward individual terrorism and rioting as a political
method has not changed for many years. We condemn it and we carry out a
political struggle to convince those young people who might be attracted by the
violence of those dressed in black. [What is required] is a patient fight within
the mass movement, alongside our comrades from work, to build a democratic and
Göteborg it is time to prepare for the Genoa Summit. And the conclusion drawn by
the EU leaders after Göteborg is neither to democratize nor to modify the
neoliberal policy. On the contrary, the political and financial regime wants to
be locked up more firmly in its shell. Genoa will be subjected to a veritable
state of siege.
Minister Silvio Berlusconi has already announced the mobilization of
Göteborg the leaders were only interested in banning demonstrations, and using
water cannon and tear gas, along with the generalization of body searches. In
short, one step more toward a police state. Contributing to this result are the
anarchist elements who prefer to act separately when tens of thousands are
demonstrating in the streets against the system.
one thing should not be forgotten. For four days Göteborg was the scene of the
most massive demonstrations against the policy of the European Union ever held
in Sweden. The thousands who organized three immense demonstrations without
having recourse to any threatening attitude whatsoever are the true winners.
They represent the future.