Black Block (2011) Movie Script

The G8 summit is held in Genoa
July 20-22nd, 2001
In a city guarded by police 300,000
people protest against the summit
2 days of clashes, 200 arrests,
1000 wounded and 1 protester killed
The operational base of the Genoa
Social forum, coordinating
the associations promoting the protest
is the Diaz School.
July 22nd: the police identifies this
school as the base for the Black Bloc,
held responsible for the devastation
during the G8
The intelligence report
allowed us to divide into groups
the potential protesters, based
on ideological characteristics
and to focus our attention on the most
dangerous group, the Black Bloc,
made up of around 500 Italians
and 2000 foreigners.
On the basis of what happened
in the early hours of the riots
and in the clashes that followed
caused by the so-called Black Bloc,
some things need to be considered.
The Black Bloc travel
in an anonymous form,
they don't always have a base,
they don't hold regular meetings
but they come from all over the world
to attend important events
with a perfect understanding
of the territory
and assault techniques.
The real squatting of houses
went on until 1990.
All the houses that have contracts now
were squatted before
German reun ifi cat i on .
M ULl-31
When l was young, in '94 - '95,
no one squatted anything anymore.
During my crazy punk-rock period
we'd squat in an apartment
or we'd stay in houses that were
already occupied.
I moved into the house
when I live now in 2002, after Genoa.
At first it was a war about who wanted
to negotiate and who didn't.
Some people said:
We'll squat, we don't want contracts,
it's our right, everyone has the night
to own the house they live in
and no landlord
has the right to exist,
to take money as rent".
Othen said:
"That would be right politically,
but in the world we live in
it's utopian".
I'm glad I live in a house
which, thanks to negotiations,
is now in the hands
of a cooperative
and has therefor been removed
from the speculative market.
I could never be one
that follows the crowd.
May be that's why I be came a punk
when I was 13.
I'm an atypical case,
I had a good childhood
and fantastic parents.
The key moment was when I was
in school,aged 14.
And then was a very competitive
mentality in school :
everyone against everyone.
Everyone had to create their own space
in order to succeed.
But I was unable to do this.
It wasn't the world as I imagined it
and I never found my own space.
l thought: I don't give a damn"
and so.
I went to one of the camps occupied
by caravans, called "East Side".
Almost a thousand people lived there,
from the most extreme scenes,
mostly the punk rock one.
And I don't know, I immediately
felt at home.
Being together...
was different
to how I'd experienced it.
Different to how it was at school
or how football fans wen.
I don't want to be influenced
by society, but I want to influence it.
How can I say... even
on an emotional level I feel
that my life cannot only be about
this consumerist society.
I don't want to live like that.
Why did I come to Genoa ?
Because when important things
are criticized,
when you experience...
It's true that protests
can always be ignored,
I can run through the streets
shouting that capitalism is shit.
The question is: "Who cares ?
Who will listen to me ?"
It's a problem young people face:
who will listen to them ?
That's why in Prague I was happy
to be able to participate directly,
of the fact that we wen able
to interrupt the summit.
It was the International
Monetary fund summit.
And this got me hooked somehow.
So afterwards I wanted to go
to Genoa at all costs.
I have many memories.
I was struck by how different people
came together.
I think it's one of life's
rare experiences.
I never experienced it again:
being with thousands of people
who an totally dierent,
with dierent political motivations,
from dierent groups,
with different objectives.
The way they got in touch,
the interaction that took place,
the reciprocal intensity
and curiosity...
farmers came to protest about
the politics of agriculture
and found themselves alongside
anarchists and punks
and it was a peaceful meeting.
They showed no aggression
towards one another.
The change
happened so quickly, from what I saw.
Then was already a lot of tension
that morning when it all started.
The police attack on
the Tute Bianche group
happened suddenly,
with no warning.
The quantity of gas they used
against people
meant you had no chance of escaping.
Pure terror broke out.
I'd never seen such a thing happen
and I never want to again.
Also because it was nothing like
a normal police intervention.
for me it was like
a military intervention
and like many others,
I immediately feared for my life.
- film that.
- Shit, there's a guy... Oh, God I
Murderers! Murderers!
It was only when I got to the Carlini
stadium that I found out
that not far from us
Carlo Giuliani had been killed.
The next day, when they started
spraying that gas again,
I couldn't go any further.
There was a demonstration
along the seafront.
I started finding it hard to breathe.
Then panic spread though the crowds
which started retreating.
I was trapped among the crowds,
I couldn't move,
I couldn't even walk.
I was so squashed. If Id lifted
my feet, I wouldn't have fallen over.
The people wen so squashed that
the tear gas bounced o them
Without even touching the ground.
In Genoa, after that second day,
the atmosphere was...
A policeman on the roadside was enough
to create negative energy.
No one had the courage to
go within 50 meters of him.
And they were night, in my opinion.
They wen like a hostile army,
an enemy army.
I was mentally distraught
and rather exhausted.
I didn't even want to go back
to the stadium.
It was too big, chaotic and dangerous
for my liking.
In hindsight it turned out to be
the wrong decision.
I'd have been safer
among 10,000 people.
Yes, and so I went to the school,
also because, like many others
I wanted to get out of the city.
wen quite upset about
what had happened.
So we decided not to leave
on that day
and to spend the night some where
on the beach.
But then we decided to go to
the Diaz School
because we'd found out we were
allowed to sleep there.
We parked almost in front
of the school gates.
Lena and I went in
and we looked for somewhere
where we could be on our own.
didn't want too many people around,
we wanted to rest
afterward had happened.
We parked the car.
Stefania and Valena went to sleep
right away.
I was getting ready too,
I was talking with some friends,
waiting to be able to use a computer.
After everything we'd experienced
we had the impression that
this was a finale...
a tranquil and comforting finale.
Then all of a sudden
we heard someone shouting:
"Police, police!"
I immediately ran up to
the frontdoor, where my stuff was.
It was a reaction caused by panic.
I thought: "Get my stuff and go".
"If the police bust in hen,
I don't want to be here".
"I want to try to escape".
In the exact moment in which
I was about to get my rucksack
I saw the police van
banging against the entrance gate.
The courtyard filled up with police
officers entering through the gate,
running towards the door of the school
which was shut.
The police officers wen't running
towards the window like rabid dogs.
They smashed the windows
with their truncheons.
At that moment, I was filled
with panic
and I knew I had to get myself
to safety.
It was a mob of frightened people,
it was chaos.
Everyone was frightened... A mob
of frightened people running away.
Then there were those
who'd just woken up
and were still half-asleep
in their sleeping bags,
trying to understand
what was going on around them.
We were running aimlessly
around the school.
We tried leaving via the scaffolding.
But it was impossible and so
we continued running up and down.
On the third floor we found
a store cupboard near the toilet
and we thought we'd hide in there
so they wouldn't find us.
for an instant I found myself
on my own in front of this door.
There was no one around,
no one was running.
The gym was calm.
I imagined all the people,
everyone in the place they had chosen
to face what was about to happen.
I couldn't hear shouting
or any other noises
except for the police
trying to break down the door.
Then I saw
the first police officer appear.
He was probably the first one
that entered the Diaz School.
He stormed in with vehemence
full of hatred,
with great eagerness
to eliminate us.
He came closer and soon after
he picked up a chair
and as I was about to sit down
on the floor
he threw the chair at us.
I heard the sound of the police
officers boots coming up the stairs
and I knew they'd attack us.
Those an moments
when time stands still.
Youre fully aware
that something is about to happen
to you.
Our door opened
and we put our hands in the air.
They dragged Niels out
and started beating him up.
Then they started hitting
and kicking me
until I fell to the ground
in the corridor.
I barely saw
Lena being dragged away.
I was dragged out of the store
cupboard too.
I had a semi-circle of police officers
in front of me.
Between eight and eleven officers.
I kept my hands in the air and
they hit me on the head and shoulders.
After the first blows,
I fell to the ground.
I turned to protect my head
so they hit me in my ribs
and they kicked me on the back.
I felt almost immediately
that my ribs had been broken.
Then was a coat rack on the wall
and they kept picking me up
and throwing me against the hooks.
As I stood up wearily,
they kicked me on the legs
and so I fell down again
then they picked me up and threw me
against the coat rack again.
They pushed me down the corridor
with a stick
until we got to a small landing
with three steps.
I was lying face down on the floor
and they bashed me down the stairs.
I held my hands out
to protect myself
and the police bashed my fingers
and kicked me in the head.
And then
one of them pulled me up by
my hair and dragged me downstairs
and the others who were behind
and beside them hit me in the back
and kicked me in the side.
There were 5 police oicers,
more or less,
who for quite a while,
while I was on the ground
kicked me and beat me
with their truncheons.
for the whole time I tried
to protect my head with my arms
and so I curled up into a ball
to avoid receiving too many blows
so most of the blows
wen kicks to my back.
After quite a while, the officers left
and I was left there,
lying in a pool of blood
in the corridor.
A few minutes later
another police officer arrived.
He picked up a fire extinguisher
that was beside me
and he sprayed my whole body
with it.
And as my face was covered in blood
and I had a lot of open wounds
the powder from the extinguisher
stung like hell.
I managed to get close to
a radiator and I had
lots of people around me.
It was quite a protected position.
All of a sudden I looked up
and looked into the eyes of
a police officer
who started hitting me.
I tried to shield myself
with my arms as best I could
and he was hitting me in the back.
Around me people were covered
in blood.
Then was a very young Italian girl
who was hysterical and shouting.
The police came in running
and they immediately got the first
person and hit them right in the face
with the grip of the Tonfa.
They looked like a herd
of wild boars on speed.
It was a battering of constant blows.
I don't think it went on
for more than thirty seconds
otherwise I wouldn't
have been able to survive.
The only scene I can remember
is of an officer who kept kicking me
in my ribs and stomach.
I couldn't breathe
and I seriously thought
I would die from lack of oxygen.
A savage beating.
The most violent one I've experienced,
without a doubt.
All my ability to resist
was engaged in those minutes
and I didn't know how long
I would resist.
Then the blows stopped.
So I opened my eyes.
And the scene that I saw
was dramatic.
Then all I know is that I came round
and then was blood everywhere,
above me, in front of me...
I'd never seen so much blood
in all my life
and I never want to again.
I thought the person in front of me
was dead.
He lying in a huge pool of blood
coming from his head
and it was getting bigger.
The only words I said to the woman
next to me were:
"He's dead, isn't he ?"
I thought:
"Nothing matters now,
they're going to kill me anyway".
By then I'd accepted the fact
that I wouldn't survive.
Then they threw me on top
of more people
who were lying on the floor
covered in blood
and I remember wondering
if they were dead or alive
because they weren't moving
or talking.
And I couldn't even get off them,
my arm was pressing against
my broken ribs
and it was almost impossible
for me to move.
Then I realized that my legs
were moving up and down by themselves.
I saw that someone along the corridor
was having the same convulsions
and so I calmed down
because I thought that maybe
it was normal in those conditions.
A few at a time, the police officers
started going down the stairs
and they started going
onto the other floor.
So I was able to see
the rest of the corridor.
It was a truly devastating scene,
there were people everywhere
on the floor, covered in blood.
There was a young guy
who'd been thrown to the floor,
then was...
They made us go down
to the ground floor.
with their truncheons they pushed us
towards the ground floor.
They kept insulting us and telling us
they would kill us.
Then the police officers
left the school.
As they went by some of them
stopped and spat at me.
Other took off their helmets
in order to aim their spit better.
At that moment I thought,
even if the comparison sounds stupid,
"This is like Chile or Argentina".
It was like those images
I'd seen in films.
The police wen all over the stairs,
spitting at us.
One officer on the landing was
hitting people as they went by.
I tried to get up.
I managed to stand up
for a moment,
as they had hit me hard on the head.
They had broken my fingers,
nose and ribs.
My right side was black and blue
with bruising.
And in the emergency room,
I saw Niels again.
He saw me and came over
to my stretcher.
He looked like a zombie,
his face was bruised and swollen
and his eyes were bloodshot.
Lena couldn't speak, she just about
managed to move her arm.
She was making strange sounds,
like groans.
I spoke to her but she didn't reply.
She was in terrible pain.
Then a doctor came
and told me
that he was going to make a cut
under my breast
to insert a tube that would enable
my lungs to breathe.
They had been pierced
by the broken ribs
and they needed to drain the blood.
And I thought: "That's exactly
what needs to happen now".
Then they took us up to the next floor
in wheelchairs,
where the people
that had been arrested were.
On the door a sign said:
"Crisis station" ,
it was in a closed part
of the hospital, in the basement.
And then the torture started
all over again.
were dragged away
in our wheelchairs...
The "penitentiary police officers"
wen like a gang of Rambos,
with the bullet-proof vests
and all the equipment they had.
They wen muscular like bodybuilders.
And then was this small guy,
in a blue shirt, an ordinary officer,
who was like a dictator. He yelled
at us and slapped us.
Then they took me to another room
where I had to get undressed slowly.
at each item of clothing I removed,
they hit me.
Then I had to do push-ups
and with each push-up, they hit me
and so on until we reached
the bathroom.
In the shower some police officer
intimidated me
and they were excited as if
they wanted to eat me alive.
They surrounded me and shoved me,
yelling at me to hurry up.
They sprayed disinfectant
on my head.
The shower was all red, stained
with the blood from the previous day.
I couldn't see anything anymore.
The guy who was with me
was wearing dam clothes,
he had tattoos and looked like a punk.
So what they did to me was
just a warm-up.
He was beaten by everyone.
They opened up all his wounds again.
He had to clean off his blood
from the tiles.
How can I say... it was a really
unpleasant experience.
The next 24 hours in the hospital bed
wen totally horrific.
expected the wont.
When something like this happens,
you don't know what their limit is.
I woke up and saw an oicer
in front of me, touching his balls
and as he insulted me another oicer
removed the safety catch from his gun.
The guy in the bed next to me had it
worse, they played games with him.
One oicer pretended to shoot him
while another stopped him.
Of course now I know
it was all just an act
but in that situation I believed it.
At first I was unable to work it out.
for years I didn't remember
those scenes after the shower.
It was only when I met the guy
who had been with me again
that I remembered we hadn't
been beaten up again in the hospital
but they had been through
of pure terror.
Basically, a trauma happens because
of an event you cannot understand.
Of course
it's caused by violent situations.
Typical symptoms an insomnia,
recurrent nightmares.
And anxiety too, the sensation
of being in constant danger.
Your adrenaline levels are always up.
And for this reason, you sometimes
become detached from society.
Then I was taken to another room
to be checked over.
There was another doctor there.
He asked me some questions
and made me do some exercises.
He said that if I could walk unaided,
I would be able to leave the hospital.
At a certain point, they took us
They put us in a police van
and drove off.
After a while we arrived at a sort
of Mussolini style ancient villa.
wen in Bolzaneto,
but nobody told us.
I don't think anyone knew about the
existence of that place until then.
A detention and punishment center
for people
before prison.
They made us get out of the van
and they stood us against the wall.
The police oicers surrounded us,
yelling at us and insulting us.
I was shaking.
The officer who looked like
he was in charge
had a pen in his hand
and he made a cwss on my cheek.
Like we wen cattle.
They were marking us.
I was screaming with pain,
I couldn't even stand up
and so they called
a sort of doctor
or at least that's what they said
even though he had a police uniform.
He touched my back and asked me
when the pain was.
After a while he found my sorest
spot and there was a big bruise there.
He asked me if that was when I felt
pain and I said it was.
And he dropped me
right onto that spot.
I fell to the ground in pain.
The cell stank of rancid blood.
People still had open wounds.
from the cell window
the police officers insulted us
and laughed at us.
Then they took me into another room
to be searched.
There was a table in then
with a police officer behind it,
while the other officers stood
around it.
An officer started searching me,
it was the third time l was searched
but this time was totally dierent
to the previous times.
I had to strip down naked.
The police oicer passed
the metal detector over my clothes.
They saw I was in too much pain,
that I couldn't move properly
so they forced me to do
some e push-ups,
naked, in front of the officers
who were enjoying the scene.
The pain was too much,
I couldn't take it anymore
but I had to continue.
It was obvious that we had no rights
in that place.
We couldn't make any calls
or see a lawyer.
I remember that we asked to
but it was all so surreal.
It was a situation...
a situation in which you knew
you were beyond legal help.
Some people aren't immediately
affected by the trauma endured.
They carry on like before.
Maybe they have the sensation that
then's a before and after.
Life is divided into a before
and an after.
A sensation like: "I stared death
in the face and now it's all changed".
You've lost a part of yourself.
Two days later,
two nights later,
they started to...
all this...
now I know they wen taking me
to prison, but I didn't then.
They put me on a coach
with other expelled girls
and they took us to the prison
in Voghen.
In the prison it was like being
in a hotel.
for the first time
we had a hot meal,
we hadn't had one for a long time.
Then was a TV in the cell
and we saw the first images
on the news.
saw the first demonstrations
and they wen for us.
It was a very emotional moment,
because they carried huge banners
that nad "Diaz..."
In the end you knew that someone
out there was thinking of you.
Of course my brother had heard
about it all in Germany.
It was all very complicated.
My family tried to find information
about my whereabouts.
They called the embassy in Rome,
they called everyone.
My brother looked everywhere
without finding out where we were
Yes, sorry but this is
the hardest part for me.
My brother, without knowing...
My brother simply got into his car
to come and get me.
He found out where I was
and he came to the police station.
I was inside and I saw him outside.
We touched hands but it wasn't easy
because of the metal ban.
I hadn't had any contact with
my loved ones for four days.
I was...
I felt completely alone,
I didn't even know
what had happened to Lena.
I was lost, at the mercy of the police
and the prison guards.
for years I was unable to sleep,
I had nightmares.
I couldn't forget about
what had happened.
In the end I realized that
I was suffering from a "trauma".
I accepted this fact
for the first time in 2004
when I saw it on the leaflet
of a group.
The leaflet described post traumatic
stress disorder and its symptoms.
I think I cried all night long.
I was so relieved that someone
had described my situation.
I realized that I wasn't
completely mad,
that I wasn't weak and that
I wasn't crazy
but that mine was a normal reaction
to an abnormal event.
So after 5 years
I felt a glimmer of hope,
when I went back to Genoa
for the trials.
And so I started living again.
I had to pull through for myself.
And that's when I started from.
After giving evidence in Genoa
l started seeing a psychotherapist
who helped me a gnat deal.
for me starting over
was really important
because after Genoa
I'd taken a long pause.
I'd not done much politically.
I felt like they'd taken away
my ability to take action.
As soon as I saw a group of
police officers, I'd start sweating.
Even participating in normal
demonstrations had become hard.
I've never analyzed it fully.
I met people who'd had similar
experiences to mine,
people who came from leRist
political activism
and they each had their own experience
they had to work though.
And we created a group that deals
with this sort of thing.
It's called
"Activist trauma support".
They wom a bit like paramedics
at demonstrations.
Their task is to stitch up
physical wounds.
Whereas we are there
to heal the mental wounds.
At the G8 in Germany we eectively
provided this psychological support
to provide people with help
and information.
It was a good way for me to restart
taking part in political resistance.
The G8 has become a sort of symbol.
We'll try to stop the next G8 as well.
But I wanted to continue with this
direction because I'd experienced it.
So for three years I attended
an alternative medicine course.
It allows you to work in the medical
field without being a doctor.
After doing this initial course
I'd have the opportunity
to continue with my studies.
I could go to university
and study psychology
and then I'd finally be able
to offer therapy for traumas.
I'm still politically active.
I try to do things that go beyond
my daily work.
What's dierent about how my life
was before Genoa
is that I do things
on a non personal level.
When I was younger politics
meant big demonstrations for me,
action, meeting people.
But now politics
influences my daily life.
I try to live what I think could and
should exist even on a wider scale.
That which I fight for.
But only a revolution would achieve
this. I don't think that'll happen.
But this is how I want to live,
it's my way of fighting for the cause.
I still think today that what
was done to us at the Diaz School
was, considering what happened,
an act of forced repression.
They wanted to show what can happen
when you bother those in power,
when you get too close to them.
The fact that they beat us up
until we were black, blue and purple
was their objective
and they achieved this.
When I returned to Berlin,
people hugged me, crying.
They were crying, not me,
even though I'd been through it.
I think their aim was to traumatize
the movement
with what they did to us.
Lots of things have happened to m e
in my life.
Genoa was such a powerful experience
that it mamed me deeply
and the one thing the police did not
achieve was to make me give up.
can say they achieved
the opposite.
I cannot, nor do I want to ntin
and lead a bourgeois life.
I don't want to do that.
Maybe I'm no longer on the front line
in many demonstrations.
But I'll continue doing what
I want to do.
They failed to break my spirit
in that school.
After the police raid on the Diaz
School, 93 people wen arrested.
They were charged with aiding
and abetting destruction and theft,
aggravated resistance
possession of firearms .
After 3 years of investigations,
the charges were dropped.
following the protesters' statements
29 officers wen investigated
and committed for trail for assault
and making false accusations.
On Appeal 25 officers were sentenced
to a total of 85 years in prison
and disqualified from public
offices for 5 years.
The protester received
one million euros in compensation.
While awaiting the Court of
Cassation the police oicers
have kept their jobs or received
The chief of police, De Gennaro,
was sentenced to 1 year and 4 months
for induction to perjuy in a trail
connected with the Diaz School.
At present, he is the chief of the
Department of Information Security,
a body which supervises
the Italian secret services.
Ulnch Reichel: "Muli" -After the traumatic events of 2001 , Ulnch began
his training as an alternative therapist. father of a daughter just a year
old, he lives in an occupied house in Benin with his Italian girlfriend,
and wishes to enwl in university to earn a degree in psychology.
Michael Gieser -A businessman, he is continuing his activity as
multilingual facilitator in creative learning methods. He lives in
southern France with his two children, who an 3 and 5 years old.
Daniel Mc auillan - In 2001 , after founding Multikulti, the multilingual
website for asylum applicants and refugees, he met and married
Njomeza, a refugee from Kosovo
The father of two children 3 and 7 years old, he is now a university
instructor. He organizes international "hack days" to create innovations
using digital technologies.
Niels Martensen -A vegan, since before 2001 he has been active in
defending the environment and tnes in particular.
Today, Niels is a professional agriculturist and has founded and
directs, along with Lena, the Arbonrtist cooperative, which has 15
employees. He lives in Hamburg in a genplatz.
Chabi Nogueras - Lives in Zaragoza and, a conscientious objector, has
been in the Antimilitay Alternative since before the G8. He now works at
the Pantera Rossa, an independent social centre. In a few months, his
daughter will be born, and he dreams of returning to Genoa with her.
Mina Zapatew - Upon completing her Arabic studies, she moved to
Beirut in 2002.
She now lives in Paris, where she is active in the world of independent
media with the "Regarde vue" collective.
Lena Zuhlke -A student of Indology at the Univenity of Hamburg in
2001 , Lena is writing a doctoral thesis and working alongside Neils as
an arbonculturist.
She lives in a commune of 30 people, and is committed to the ecology
movement, and especially to the struggle against nuclear power.
Interviews held and organized in collaboration with Mina Zapatero