Two British nationals who were seriously injured in the disturbances at the Evian G8 summit site in May are among many activists planning legal actions against the Swiss police.
Martin Shaw suffered multiple fractures to his spine, hip and feet after a rope he had attached himself to during a bridge blockade was cut by police. The experienced climber fell 60 feet into a shallow stream and now faces years of physiotherapy with no guarantee of full recovery.
Speaking to Red Pepper at Shaw’s Lausanne bedside, one of the injured man’s friends said: ‘We are definitely pursuing a legal case against the police and the Swiss state to recoup the medical costs and for compensation, as well as to challenge the increasing impunity of the state and its executive forces.’
Also injured was Guy Smallman, a freelance photographer who was covering the protests in Geneva. Smallman’s calf muscle was extensively damaged when a stun grenade exploded against his leg.
Tim Gospill, an executive member of Britain’s National Union of Journalists (NUJ), confirmed to Red Pepper: ‘We will be pursuing a legal challenge on Guy’s behalf.’ After a picket outside Switzerland’s London embassy, NUJ general secretary Jeremy Dear was promised a meeting with the Swiss ambassador.
The issues are grave. Human rights violations like those committed at Quebec, Gothenberg and Genoa in 2001 appear to be becoming institutionalised at international summits.
Curfews, roadblocks, raids on independent press centres, protest bans, the (alleged) use of informers and agents provocateurs, and the indiscriminate and unannounced use of tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets are all now par for the summit course.
As Red Pepper went to press, charges against as many as 100 policemen in Italy were being prepared for offences including attempted manslaughter. The offences were allegedly committed by officers ‘policing’ Genoa’s G8 summit in July 2001.
#233: Democracy on the Wing ● Thelma Walker on regional autonomy ● An interview with Clive Lewis ● The World Transformed ● Gender, sexuality and witchcraft ● The globalisation of ‘Asian horror’ ● A tribute to Dawn Foster ● Latest book reviews ● And much more!
And you choose how much to pay for your subscription...
Bliss Cua Lim looks at how the female ghost subgenre illuminates efforts to globalise ‘Asian horror’
Reviewing two recent books on care in the 21st century, Emily Kenway suggests the only solution to the current crisis lies in a wholescale reorganisation of our political economy
As Sanders and Corbyn head to the polls, Peter Gowan describes a new spirit of international collaboration on the left
Finn Smith speaks to Lucia Pradella and Thomas Marois, editors of Polarising Development, a collection of essays exploring the antagonistic structure of capitalist development
Firoze Manji argues that the recent uprising in Burkina Faso throws light on the debate around development, and calls for our solidarity, not charity
‘Development’ has failed to deliver. The reason, Jason Hickel argues, is that development organisations have failed to address the structural drivers of poverty
Want to try Red Pepper before you take out a subscription? Sign up to our newsletter and read Issue 231 for free.