Death of Carlo Giuliani

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During an anti-globalization demonstration outside the July 2001 G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, protester Carlo Giuliani was shot dead by riot police among demonstrators who attacked their van, making his the first death during an anti-globalization demonstration since the movement's rise from the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. Photographs showed Giuliani, a 23-year-old Roman living in Genoa, throwing a fire extinguisher towards the van, a pistol firing a shot in return from the van, and Giuliani's body having been run over by the van. Charges against the officer were initially dropped without trial as a judge ruled that the ricocheted bullet was fired in self-defense, but the incident became a point of public scrutiny. The European Court of Human Rights, eight years after the incident, ruled that the Italian forces had acted within their limits, though damages were awarded for the state's procedural handling of the case. Appeals held the ruling, and Giuliani's family later filed a civil suit. Giuliani was memorialized in music tributes and public monuments, and is remembered as a symbol of the 2001 G8 protests. The 2002 documentary Carlo Giuliani, Boy, recounts the incident.


Death of Carlo Giuliani. The Carabiniere's firearm can be seen in the top right of the left-hand photograph. In between these photos, a shot has been fired at Giuliani

In July 2001, anti-globalization demonstrators protested the 27th G8 summit in Genoa, Italy, where leaders of the world's major industrialized nations met. Among these protesters was Carlo Giuliani, a 23-year-old Roman Italian and resident of Genoa, whom a police officer shot and killed during what had become a riot two miles from the summit. It was the first death in an anti-globalization demonstration since its rise from the 1999 Seattle WTO protests. According to a Reuters photographer, who took photographs of the incident, Giuliani and several other young, male protesters had surrounded and attacked a police vans with rock and other weapons. Italian television broadcast several photographs, in which: Giuliani threw a fire extinguisher at the van, a hand from inside the van fired a pistol in response, and Giuliani collapsed behind the van. Further photographs and reports show that the van run over him twice over his legs after he was shot.[1][2] The Italian interior minister confirmed that Giuliani had been hit by a bullet fired in self-defense by a police officer, who was later hospitalized for his own injuries.[3]

The New York Times was unclear why the riot police had live ammunition, whereas other Genoa riot police used water cannons, riot sticks, and tear gas elsewhere in the city.[3] About 1,000 people attended Giuliani's funeral in Genoa, his coffin ornamented in ferns and A.S. Roma's flag.[4]


In the case against Carabiniere Mario Placanica, evidence was given by a ballistics expert that the fatal bullet had "ricocheted off plaster".[5] All charges against Mario Placanica were dropped when Judge Daloiso, who presided over the case, concluded that the fatal bullet that struck Giuliani was not directly aimed at Giuliani,[5] and ruled that Placanica had acted in self-defense. The case was not taken to trial.[6]

However, during a later trial in Genoa of some demonstrators allegedly involved in clashes the same day Giuliani was killed, the same forensic doctor, professor Marco Salvi, who had been a consultant to Silvio Franz, the prosecutor who led the case against Mario Placanica, testified that Giuliani had been the victim of a "direct hit", thus contradicting the evidence previously given and laying doubt on the decision made based on the alleged change of direction of the bullet. Medics tending to Giuliani after he was run over testified that his heart was still beating,[7] and this was confirmed by professor Salvi during the trial in Genoa. To confuse the situation further, in late 2003 Placanica told the Bologna daily Il Resto Del Carlino that "I've been used to cover up the responsibility of others." He claimed that the bullet found in Giuliani's body was not of the caliber or type fired by the pistols of the Carabinieri, and claimed the deadly shot had come from somewhere in the piazza outside.[8] After making this statement, Placanica was involved in a "suspicious" car accident.[9] Placanica was allegedly kept in seclusion following the incident, and his parents were not allowed to visit him in the hospital.[7]

On August 25, 2009 the European Court of Human Rights notified in writing its judgement in the case of Giuliani and Gaggio v. Italy. It judged no excessive use of force was used and it was not established that Italian authorities had failed to comply with their positive obligations to protect Carlo Giuliani’s life. The Court did judge Italy has not complied with its procedural obligations in connection with the death of Carlo Giuliani and has awarded a total of 40.000 euro in non-pecuniary damage to the three applicants.[10] In 2010, the case was referred to the Court's Grand Chamber on appeals from both sides;[11] the Grand Chamber has held in 2011, that there had been no violation of the European Convention, although seven judges from seventeen dissented.[12] On June 24, 2013, Giuliani's relatives filed a civil suit against former police officer Mario Placanica and deputy police commissioner Adriano Lauro regarding his untimely death.[13]


Carlo Giuliani has become a symbol of leftist civil unrest during the G8 summit in Genoa. Various musical groups have paid tribute to Carlo Giuliani through songs or dedications, e.g., the English group Chumbawamba dedicated their version of the traditional World War II anti-fascist Italian partisans song "Bella Ciao" to Giuliani, during their 2001 tour, Propagandhi dedicated their song, "Resisting Tyrannical Government" to Giuliani, the anarcho-punk band Conflict released a song in his memory, titled "Carlo Giuliani", and the Spanish band Ska-P also has a song about Carlo, titled "Solamente por pensar". In other examples the Italian singer-songwriter Francesco Guccini in 2004 wrote a song about Carlo Giuliani and the G8 summit incidents, named "Piazza Alimonda"; Giuliani is also mentioned in a song by Italian rapper Nesli, and "Zeta Reticoli" by the alternative rock band Meganoidi was dedicated to him. The Shizit dedicated their entire album Soundtrack for the Revolution to his memory. Giuliani was also mentioned in the valencian band Orxata Sound System song "VIOLÈNCIA". The Irish band Lankum (formerly known as Lynched) have also dedicated a song in his name. [14] In 2001, the Italian composer Luca Francesconi wrote "Let me Bleed", Requiem for Carlo Giuliani for mixt choir on text by Attilio Bertolucci. The North American Outspoken Word Troupe of political poets published a piece entitled "A Tale of Two Giulianis" contrasting Carlo to former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Giuliani's death had the immediate effect of quelling the 2001 G8 protests and the longer-term effect of reducing the public profile of the next summit. The Saturday protest in Genoa was expected to be its largest, with 100,000 participants, but turnout was halved after the killing as groups withdrew. Nonviolent demonstrators, in hindsight, distanced themselves from groups whose battles with police they blamed for ruining their peaceful message. The G8 announced that the next summit would instead be held at a remote resort at a fifth of the 2001 summit's size to reduce opportunities for violent protest.[15]

Piazza Alimonda, the plaza where Giuliani was killed, was unofficially renamed "Piazza Carlo Giuliani" by activists, who erected a memorial there for mementos, photographs, writings and flowers. This memorial has since been set on fire twice. Another memorial, instituted at the expense of his parents, features simply the words "Carlo Giuliani, boy." In 2007, the Communist Refoundation Party renamed its Presidential Office in the Italian Parliament after Carlo Giuliani. Giuliani's mother, Haidi, was elected Senator for the party in the 2006 election specifically to begin a parliamentary inquiry into Carlo's death. After the exit from the parliament of PRC by the result of 2008 election, the name was changed.

In 2002, Francesca Comencini directed a documentary film titled Carlo Giuliani, ragazzo about the shooting. It was screened out of competition at the 2002 Cannes Film Festival.[16] The 2005 film Dot.Kill directed by John Irvin described the Giuliani slaying as causing violent anti-globalist splinter groups to proliferate, as a possible motive for the online slayings of CEOs portrayed in the film.


  1. ^ Jeffery, Simon (2001-07-20). "Protester shot dead in Genoa riot". The Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  2. ^ Martinez, Dylan (2015-05-09). "dylan2". News Decoder/Reuters. Retrieved 2018-03-17. 
  3. ^ a b Stanley, Alessandra; Sanger, David E. (2001-07-21). "Genoa Summit Meeting: The Overview; Italian Protester Is Killed by Police at Genoa Meeting". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  4. ^ "World Briefing". The New York Times. 2001-07-26. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  5. ^ a b John Hooper (2003-08-06). "Genova officer in 'suspicious' car crash". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  6. ^ "Genoa protester case dismissed". BBC News. 2003-05-05. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  7. ^ a b "Carlo Giuliani". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  8. ^ "La verita di Placanica: "Il colpo è partito dalla polizia in piazza"" (in Italian). 2006-12-02. Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-02-04. 
  9. ^ Hooper, John (August 5, 2003). "Genoa officer in 'suspicious' car crash". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. 
  10. ^ "HUDOC Search Page". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  11. ^ "HUDOC Search Page". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  12. ^ "HUDOC Search Page". Retrieved 2015-04-23. 
  13. ^ Tim Phillips, "Carlo Giuliani's Relatives Sue Former Police Officer and Deputy Police Commissioner", Activist Defense, June 24, 2013.
  14. ^
  15. ^ Tagliabue, John (July 23, 2001). "GENOA SUMMIT MEETING: THE FALLOUT; G-8 and Main Protest Groups Concur on Stopping Violence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. 
  16. ^ "Festival de Cannes: Carlo Giuliani, Boy". Archived from the original on 2012-10-10. Retrieved 2009-11-01. 

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