[streaming video of this weekend's G8 protests--complete with riot police, tear gas, window smashing.]
Read a FirstAccount of last night's police raid of the Independent Media Center at the 'L'Usine' Cultural Centre.
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AUTONOMOUS MEDIA COLLECTIVE BESIEGED IN GENEVA by Jamie King (firstname.lastname@example.org)
At approximately half past nine Sunday Jun 01, the L'Usine, a center of anti-g8 activity in Geneva, was raided by police. The police were dressed in 'black bloc' gear, only identified as police by pink armbands and ID.
After surrounding the L'Usine during a gradual accretion of forces in the preceding hours, the police eventually massed in front of the building on the side of the public square that had become a meeting point for many demonstrators and activists. The police made one abortive attempt to enter the building in a small number, then fell back, regrouped, and made another sortie.
They were stopped temporarily by some activists who formed a chain. It is confirmed that these activists were beaten. Some few were injured, but not, it currently appears, badly.
Fighting then broke out in the 'Zoo' section of the L'Usine building. Activists trapped in the 'Zoo' were chased around by the police wielding telescopic batons.
Eventually the activists were subdued, or sent into hiding. Police then set to work on the inner doors, cheering and shouting, seeking to make their way into back sections of the L'Usine building. This section hosts the Geneva03 streaming project, which has been covering the anti-g8 demonstrations since late last week. Geneva03 continued to cover the raid live. The stream was taken down temporarily as activists rushed to save equipment, but is now up and running again at
Also in the back section of L'Usine is the Forde, an art school/practice, and some art studios. It is rumored that one of the motives behind the police action, however, were allegations made in the national media today that L'Usine was also home to so-called 'black bloc' activity, a claim rejected by the Geneva03 team and others within L'Usine.
Police battered at the door inside the Zoo section of L'Usine for about fifteen to twenty minutes, while activists were besieged in the media room. There, workers from Indymedia, Mute, Candida, Everyone Is An Expert, Lora Radio and other groups struggled to remain calm and. The fact that police could be heard shouting and smashing things, made this difficult. A significant number of those present, especially from the Italian contingent, had also been present in Genoa at the raid of the media centre there.
An escape route was determined in the event that police broke through the doors violently with intent to harm the activists inside. This was an exit through a back window with a significant drop. The activists trapped in the center attempted to address Indymedia dispatch for a vehicle to break their fall, and also to call to legal aid outside.
It was discovered that the keys given to the Geneva03 workers to secure their studio were made available to the police, presumably at some stage after they smashed the inner door down. Although significant damage was cause to the building inside by police, they gained entry to the Geneva03 streaming studio peacefully, using the keys supplied by administrators of L'Usine.
Once inside, it was extremely fortunate that there were moments to talk privately with the police, and to explain clearly and without panic that those trapped inside were media workers. It is certain that the authorities knew this already, since they had observed us openly filming them out of the window and talking to the legal help. They were clearly aware of the stream since they immediately demanded it be turned off and that microphones be removed. The activists inside were told to put their hands on their heads. Some collected essential tapes and managed to first hide them, and then hand them to legal aid.
The activists were soon split into two groups and searched. Their personal effects were laid on the floor in front of them. These effects were then examined by the same 'black bloc' style police, who were by now peaceable and made all efforts to appear reasonable and controlled. Passports were examined and taken. The police phoned a source to check each passport. Of the nine people arrested throughout L'Usine, three people are thought to be media activists from the Geneva03 collective, or at least amongst those trapped in the streaming media center.
After much consideration, orders 'from high up' came and the media activists were told that they could go about their work. All passports were returned. Contrary to early statements by the police, no tapes were taken. It seems that the decision has been taken to go on streaming from