Clashes in Genoa: a reporter is beaten by policemen

The reporter is Stefano Origone of “La Repubblica”who received injuries and fractures. He was struck by policemen during incidents caused by a group of protesters in the course of an anti-Fascist demonstration. The police department has apologised.

On May 23rd in Genoa, the journalist Stefano Origone of La Repubblica was beaten by police officers, during a charge of the police against some opponents who violently contested a rally of the extreme right-wing Casapound group during the anti-Fascist demonstration. Stefano Origone was there for work, on behalf of his newspaper. He was pounded with batons and kicked all over his body and suffered injuries including the fracture of two fingers and a rib. The police continued to beat him despite his falling to the ground and repeatedly shouting “I’m a journalist” (watch the video).

During the clashes, some demonstrators threatened the crews of the state broadcaster RAI and of Primo Canale who were filming. The police arrested two protesters. The judiciary is investigating to identify who beat the journalist. The incident has raised again the request to add a name tag with a personal identification code, as happens in other countries, to each police officer’s uniform in order to easily identify those who carry out censurable actions. The request was re-proposed by Gianni Rufini, director of Amnesty International Italy, who recalled that in recent weeks some demonstrators suffered from excessive and unnecessary force used by police officers on the occasion of protests against other electoral meetings.

THE JOURNALIST’S VERSION – Stefano Origone, from his hospital bed, described the attack in a video interview with Giulia Destefanis of “La Repubblica” (watch here). These are his most significant comments:

“I thought I would die, I’m not ashamed to say it. They didn’t stop beating me all over my body, which I was trying to protect, curled up in a foetal position. They displayed a rage that I never encountered before, that I had never experienced so brutal in my thirty years in the profession, always on location – and still – at some point I realized that my body could no longer resist, that I could no longer even protect myself. I was afraid of dying. Fortunately, a policeman Giampiero Bove who knew me because for years I was involved in crime reporting intervened. Bove, whom I thank, threw himself on me and shouted “he is a journalist” and took me away. I still breathe badly and have the marks of the beatings on my body. I saw a lot of fury in the police, it was a manhunt. Regardless of whether I’m a journalist, it’s serious that they hit me when I was helpless on the ground.”

The reporter was admitted to the Galliera hospital in Genoa. He had a cracked rib, two broken fingers, head trauma and bruises all over his body. The same evening of the attack the chief of police of Genoa, Vincenzo Ciarambino, and the head of the rapid response team, Marco Calì, went to visit him. They apologized and assured him that they will work with the magistracy to shed light on the episode.

The Interior Minister Matteo Salvini commented on the episode with these words: “Closeness to a fellow journalist, but whenever there are social actors in the square there is a mess. There are people who go on to the streets with a helmet and a baton and there are policemen who heroically are there to have spit, insults and coins thrown at them. I thank these heroes in uniform”.

SOLIDARITY WITH THE JOURNALIST was expressed by the world of journalism and various political figures. The Italian National Press Federation (Fnsi), the Ligurian Association of Journalists, the Order of Journalists and the reporters’ group from Liguria have asked for sanctions against those responsible for the attack. Cgil, Arci, Anpi, Libera, the Community of San Benedetto al Porto, Ossigeno per l’ Informazione and others expressed solidarity with Origone. Many politicians have also expressed solidarity with the reporter and asked the Interior Minister, Matteo Salvini, to clarify the incident. Solidarity also came from the president of the Chamber Roberto Fico.

RDM ASP (wt)

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