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Statement of Daniel McQuillan

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Statement of Daniel McQuillan I declare that this is a true and honest statement which I have written on Tuesday 31st July 2001. On 17th July 2001 I travelled with my friend Norman Blair on Ryanair flight FR972 from Stansted to Genoa. I went to Genoa to join protests against the exclusion of ordinary people from the decisions of the G8, which I believe are based on profit and exploitation rather than co-operation and human need. On Saturday 21st July I witnessed large and peaceful sections of a legal march being gassed and attacked by police. These events contributed to what I and others felt as an atmosphere of fear in the city that evening. We were staying at the Scolastica A. Diaz, a large empty school building opposite the Genoa Social Forum Media Centre. The school was covered in scaffolding - I assume it was being renovated during the school holidays. It was being used as an annexe for some computer terminals and as an accommodation space, and we'd been told it was a safe place to sleep. On Saturday night there were a lot of mostly young people staying at the school - the ground floor was a colourful patchwork of sleeping bags and camping mats. There was also a quiet but regular stream of people coming in and out to check their emails on the free computer terminals. Norman and I were sharing a first floor room with a man called Sam Buchanan. There were also the belongings of at least two other people in the room but they hadn't yet returned that evening. At what I think was about 1am Sunday morning I was awoken by an explosion of noise. Norman looked out of the window and said that police were charging in to the building. From downstairs we could hear glass smashing and people screaming. In fear, we tried to hide our belongings out of sight in the hope that the police wouldn't realise our room was occupied. ...read more.


At no time did any police say anything about our situation - whether we had been arrested, if so what for, or about any legal process. Clearly the police felt they could do what they liked, with no regard for law or rights, and with no danger of being held to account. It felt like we had been 'disappeared' - abducted by violent paramilitary police to a camp where we were completely at their mercy and out of sight of the world. During the day we were removed in one's and two's and taken to a parallel building for processing. This was also a hollow concrete shed but it contained a variety of sophisticated equipment on tables, such as military-looking laptop computers. I was escorted to this room by two plain clothes police wearing black leather gloves. I was photographed several times and my fingerprints were taken five times. I was also placed in front of a device attached to one of the computers, which had binocular lenses which were shone directly in to my eyes, which I thought could be for recording retinal scans. I was also made to sign several forms without understanding their contents - my questions about them were not answered. At some point in the afternoon on of the supervising police came in with a bag of ham rolls. One of the Italian prisoners translated that he was telling us not to complain about this food. There were only about twelve rolls for the fifteen of us remaining in the cell. As many of us were vegetarians we took the rolls apart and tried to share the bread out evenly. This was the only food given to us until we arrived at Pavia prison the following afternoon (about 36 hours after arrest). As evening came the atmosphere became very tense. All of the plain clothes police had disappeared and we were left with the paramilitaries. ...read more.


When I asked how I could deport myself when the police had taken and kept my money and passport I was given no helpful answer. Norman and myself were assisted by the consular staff to book a ticket with a British Airways flight to Heathrow - however, we had to pay for the tickets ourselves with Norman's credit card. On the plane home I became agitated by the fact that my sweat- and blood-stained clothing smelt bad. Apart from swapping the shirt, I had been wearing the same clothes since the original arrest. A kind stewardess gave me a sample bottle of aftershave so that I could cover the smell and be able to meet my parents and girlfriend with more confidence. The police at the prison refused to give me my medical records when I was released. On returning to Britain I visited hospital to have a proper record made of my injuries which can be used in any action against the responsible authorities. One of the Genoa Social Forum slogan's was 'Another World is Possible', meaning a world based on justice and harmony rather than profit & exploitation. However, while in custody I felt a great fear for Italy and for the rest of Europe, that another even darker world is possible; a return to fascism. I have seen that pockets of this world exist within the Italian state. How far are we going to allow it to spread? I believe that there was a systematic attempt to intimidate, brutalise and imprison me. But one unintended effect has been a huge outpouring of support and care from friends and strangers to me, my family and the other detainees. Many have said that this incident has woken them up to how bad things have become. There is a broad sense of determination to oppose global injustice. Despite having had a painful and frightening experience I feel inspired and strengthened to stand up for a better world. SIGNED - Dan McQuillan, 31st July 2001 ...read more.

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