The 4 activists arrested on 3 July following the NO TAV protests in Chiomonte were all released a few days ago – the Tribunal decided the preventative arrests were an excessive measure and replaced it with home arrests for Gianluca, Salvatore, Roberto, and Marta. Support for their case doesn’t stop here though – the final goal is to see them completely free of all allegations and restrictions.
In the meantime, the NO TAV Legal Team announced at a press conference on 9 July that they will press charges against unknown police officers. “Seen as we’ll probably never manage to identify the single policemen and Carabinieri involved, we’ll try at least to establish who directed the operation, said one of the Legal Team solicitors. We’ll press charges for damage and personal injury. The police broke all normal rules of protest containment and threw dangerous teargas, stones and other objects at eye level”. The Team also expressed their doubts about the real dynamic of the clashes, accusing the police and Carabinieri of provoking and starting the violence.
A shocking video has been circulating on the net with clear evidence of the police brutality. In the first part a protester is knocked to the floor, dragged away from the crowd and beaten up by a huge group of policemen. In the second part you can see policemen picking up stones to throw them at the protesters. Finally, in the last part you can see police forces driving a bulldozer and a fire engine over an archaeological site, completely devastating it, to use them against the protesters in the woods. If you’ve been reading my blog you know I’m not a fan of riot porn, but NO TAV and activist groups in Italy are asking people to circulate this video to show who the real violent thugs are. Watch it here. Meanwhile, the unbroken Susa Valley people are still busy resisting: a protest camp site started on July 15 in Chiomonte which will carry on till July 30. I spotted days ago news of an international one being planned for the end of August – will keep you posted.
FROM CHIOMONTE TO GENOA
The violence and brutality of July 3rd protests reminded many of another infamous occasion of violence and brutality, whose anniversary is about to be celebrated: the G8 protests in Genoa 10 years ago. The Genoan network recognised the NO TAV movement as one of the biggest contemporary examples of resistance in Italy and sent them a public invite to take part in the anniversary initiatives which will culminate in a national demonstration on July 23, and an international assembly the following day. “We really believe that the days of Genova 2011 shouldn’t end in gloom, and that the struggle for another world is still topical, now more than ever, and it carries on for our rights and for the rights of those who can’t fight for them.”
In Naples, precarious and unemployed workers have been continuosly organising and protesting over the past few years. On July 14 hundreds of them broke into the Council House to have a meeting with the newly-elected “left wing” Mayor De Magistris, but they were welcomed by the police instead. The meeting was requested a month ago following the promises made during the electoral campaign. About 80 people were stopped and 2 arrested, and luckily released a few days after. The 4000 unemployed and precarious workers have all been left jobless since the Campania Region saw its state funds cut.
Over the past few years the repression against this movement has become harsher, with countless raids, searches and arrests, and the re-introduction of charges not used since the 60’s, such as “instigator of struggle initiatives”. This, after the network successfully accomplished a long series of occupations of churches, Ministry buildings, train stations, and so on. More recent initiatives have been focused on spontaneous cleaning of derelict urban areas – to be employed in the cleaning/recycling industry is precisely what these workers had been promised during the electoral campaign (and this is what they’ve all been training for over the years). In spite of the violent repression of a few days ago, the workers have gone back to the Council House in the following days, and are planning to have a permanent picket in the square until their requests are met.
SOME GOOD NEWS
Federico and Mattia, arrested in Milan the night between June 14 and 15, have been released. The same goes for the last arrestees of “Operation Outlaw” that a couple of months ago saw a wave of raids and arrests all over Italy, especially among student groups.