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Photographer injured by riot police in Geneva

June 2 2003

London Freelance photographer Guy Smallman was injured by a stun grenade after being shot at by riot police in Geneva on June 1.

He was covering the G8 summit and the protests against it for the agency Images San Frontieres. According to witnesses, a protest he was covering in Geneva was attacked by police. He tried to run away but police fired stun grenades into the demonstration and one of them exploded near him.

He suffered serious muscle damage to his leg. He has undergone two hours of surgery and will need skin grafts.

The NUJ is in contact with him and is helping arrange his treatment and return to London. The union is protesting to the Swiss authorities.

The union's National Freelance Organiser John Toner said: "Once again police have seized the opportunity of public disorder to target a working journalist. We are making a strong protest to the Swiss government which apparently invited in the police of a foreign power to attack a demonstration."

Guy Smallman is an experienced photographer who has covered anti-globalisation protests for several years.

A report on the Indymedia website said: "A group of peaceful demonstrators, consisting of a variety of groups from NGOs, elderly people, children and people in wheelchairs etc were on their way back on the main road from Geneva, returning from the 100,000-people peaceful and colourful demonstration against the G8 summit.

"Suddenly, various vans from the German police arrived to the location, loudly speaking in megaphones, in a very aggressive mode cut off all the streets, making police lines everywhere, and trapping the returning demonstrators and by passers in the city into one place.

"The police proved to be out of control, insulting, provoking, shouting and shooting at people for no reason. In full riot gear, carrying guns, and firing teargas and concussion grenades.

"Simultaneously, a group of 10 black block members began throwing stones further down the street, down the hill. The police began charging in that direction. Returning demonstrators, passers-by and others including [Guy Smallman] began to run out of the firing line.

"The police fired deliberately in their direction a rain of 20-30 concussion grenades as they were running up some stone stairs for protection.

"Just as he was running up the stairs - from less then 10 meters, a grenade was fired onto his leg, tearing off the back of his left leg beneath his knee …

"It took a good hour or more before ambulance arrived, and police kept shouting abusive remarks and insults …

"Arriving to the hospital, the Geneva main hospital medic team, confirmed information that a large number of people had been seriously injured by concussion grenades in the passed day in Geneva.

"After 2 hours operation, yesterday in Geneva, where the medical team has been trying to reconstruct his muscles, and as the first of a series of operations to be expected, in order to graft back nerves, muscles and skin in his leg.

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