Through gripping testimony of those who experienced the raid on the Diaz school at the 2001 Genoa G8 Summit, Black Block provides a case study of police violence and arbitrary detention that could happen anywhere. Activists Lena, Niels, Chabi, Mina, Dan, Michael, and Muli, recount in painful detail how they went from demonstrating against the G8 summit in the streets to what they thought was a safe shelter for the night—the Diaz school on the outskirts of the northern Italian city of Genoa. Instead, Italian police entered the school and brutally beat the activists, leaving their targets with no legal recourse and themselves without apparent need to be accountable for their actions. Each person describes what they experienced that night and in the days that followed. Despite their trauma, the survivors grow more determined to pursue their activism in a number of new ways.
(Official Selection International Documentary Festival Amsterdam 2011)
Human Rights Watch has documented police brutality against protesters and political activists in many countries around the world. The methods that Italian police used against protesters in Genoa during the G8 summit in 2001 call to mind the more recent suppression of anti-government protests in the Middle East and North Africa, which Human Rights Watch has covered extensively. One feature of such abuse is that it happens when security forces consider themselves to be beyond the law. Accountability is the key to ending abuse.