Showdown in Genoa

The narrow streets that wind through the old part of Genoa are called carruggi in the local dialect. A police officer who must defend these dark alleys against possible demonstrators during the July 20-22 summit of eight major industrial nations calls them "perfect for hand-to-hand combat." Unlike Milan and Rome, which have wide boulevards and vast piazzas, Genoa is squeezed between the mountains and the Mediterranean. The urban geography does not bode well for safety at the G-8 summit.

Nor does the politics. The victory of Silvio Berlusconi's center-right coalition in the May elections added a combustible...

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