Tremors continue to trouble the Italian town of L’Aquila, the venue for next week’s G8 summit.
It was a strong earthquake in April that brought L’Aquila to the world’s attention. Nearly 300 people were killed and tens of thousands lost their homes. Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi decided to move the summit from Sardinia, promising that hosting the event would help the town rebuild. World leaders will be staying in a police barracks, far from the glamour usually associated with G8 venues. One of the event’s organisers insists the G8 meeting will leave a lasting legacy. Guido Bertolaso said: “After the summit some of the apartments that have been improved for hospitality will be used by the homeless people, those who have to wait until the end of the year to have new homes.” But not everyone is convinced that a G8 summit, and the protests that threaten to go with it, is the best thing for a town under reconstruction. Sara Vegni, a member of the 3e32 protest committee said: “While L’Aquila’s ancient centre has not yet been made safe and secure, we see that other expensive work has been brought forward very hastily. So no, we don’t think it was a good idea to hold the G8 summit here.” The summit provides Berlusconi with a chance to display his role as a statesman and escape embarrasing allegations concerning his private life.