Swiss press attacks "madness" of G8 summit meeting

G8 leaders pose for a farewell photo at the end of a summit meeting marred by violent protest Keystone

The Swiss press has reacted strongly against the G8 summit meeting which concluded on Sunday in the Italian city of Genoa. The event, which has been overshadowed by violent street demonstrations between police and anti-globalisation protesters, was described as "madness" by one Swiss newspaper.

This content was published on July 22, 2001 - 19:35

The mass-circulation "SonntagsBlick" also denounced the gathering of leaders from the world's leading industrialised nations and Russia as carrying with it "too high a price tag: SFr50 million in damage, more than 500 injured and a destroyed city".

By the end of the summit on Sunday, Italian police reported that 220 people, including at least eight Swiss citizens, had been arrested.

The G8 summit was overshadowed by news of the death of an Italian anti-globalisation protester during a street battle with police on Friday.

The Swiss newspaper, "", said the meeting in Genoa spelt "the last rites for G8".

In its editorial, the French-language paper said the governments taking part in the summit "must learn, sooner or later, to talk with less pomp and ceremony, more efficiently, and with greater respect for the will of the people outside."

"The G8 club, with its endless platitudes, serves only to turn attention away from other global organisations where all countries, both rich and poor, have an equal chance of being heard," the paper added.

The German-language "SonntagsZeitung" focused its attention on the death of the 23-year-old protester, which it said ensures the G8 summit in Genoa will "go down in history as the last summit of its kind."

"If the leaders of the industrialised world had decided to go out on to the streets," the paper argued, "they would have seen prostitution, drugs and social injustice everywhere they looked - the reverse side of globalisation."

In a final statement at the end of the summit on Sunday, the G8 leaders pledged to draw poor nations into the world economy.

"We are determined to make globalisation work for all our citizens and especially the world's poor," the leaders said in a joint communiqué.

"Drawing the poorest countries into the global economy is the surest way to address their fundamental aspirations."

swissinfo with agencies

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