I’ve poked fun at the Carabinieri elsewhere in this blog, and perhaps that’s a little unwise. They are of course an offshoot (bad choice of words) of the military, and have a history of using the force at their disposal without compunction.
Author and journalist Tobias Jones, in his book The Dark Heart of Italy, describes the police response to protestors at the G8 conference in Genoa in 2001;
The problem of Italian policing…is that it’s a combination of the incompetent and the very heavy-handed. The one exacerbates the other: the greater the incompetence, of course, the greater the need for heavy hands. If those hands are carrying loaded weapons that are fired at point-blank range it seems fairly obvious that there will be casualties.
One protestor was shot dead, a further 93 of varying nationalities were brutally beaten (faces smashed into walls) and or threatened with rape.
Our own police are also guilty of responding badly to protest (Ian Tomlinson being a case in point) but not to the blatant degree seen here.
I’m going to take my lead from George Orwell:
“Beyond a certain point, military display is only possible in countries where the common people dare not laugh at the army.”