As I wrote a few days ago, the NO TAV movement was planning a huge day of mobilisation on December 8, for the anniversary of what has become known as “The Battle of Venaus” in 2005, where activists managed to defeat police and security forces and take back parts of the valley that had been evicted and cleared up in the previous days.
How the local authorities perceived this call out is clear from their reaction: on December 7 a temporary decree was issued, prohibiting the access and transit of people and vehicles around the fenced areas of the valley for the following two days. New check points were established or reinforced during the day. As on previous occasions, the only response was to try to completely block protests around the fenced areas by increasing military presence locally and banning all activities in the surroundings.
Sinister characters already known to the NO TAV movement were invited to take part in the “order maintenance”, such as one of the chief inspectors who authorised the violent evictions in Venaus in 2005, and other inspectors and Digos chiefs who organised and managed the repression of the protests last summer.
The NO TAV had two main actions planned for the day: a “siege” of the fenced areas of the valley on one side, and a huge block of a local motorway on the other (which went on for more than 14 hours).
Once again, the police reacted with extraordinary violence, in particular around the fenced areas. Dozens of people were injured, including a 16 year old young man who was hit in the head by a tear gas cylinder while he was trying to put down a fire caused by the same tear gas cartridges, and a 50 year old man, also hit in the face, who might loose his sight completely. Many others were injured by rocks and stones thrown by the police;unlike last sumer, this time some RAI3 cameramen managed to film these events and broadcast them.
After evicting the lookout post (which was successfully taken back the following day!), police forces entered the building, damaged anything that was in it, and finally confiscated all the remaining equipment. During the day at least 6 people were given banning orders that prohibit them to visit the area for the next 3 years. Some of the “dangerous” equipment found in their vehicles included waterproof jackets. The following day, a worker of a local gardening co-operative was also stopped and searched, and his gardening tools confiscated while he was on his way to open up a local eco-centre.
As usual, the media and the political clowns united in a joint criticism of the violent protesters. Fassino, current Mayor of Turin, stated “There were only extremists in the Susa Valley “. Other comments were made about the necessity of defending the valley from the NO TAV activists!, and about the uselessness of these protests in view of the fact that the high speed line project is going to go ahead anyway.
The “left-wing” newspaper La Rebubblica even tried to diminish the gravity of the incident involving the 16 year old boy, saying that he is Danish and was there by chance…he is actually Danish but grew up in the Susa Valley, but his nationality doesn’t change the fact that he’s in a hospital with traumatic brain injury…
The NO TAV held a press conference the day after, and their main points were:
1) The NO TAV movement is one and united. There are no bad nor good protesters, nor were children in the demo used as human shields (one of the accusations made by some politicians). The NO TAV struggle belongs to everyone.
2) The protesters didn’t attack the police forces, but only tried, as they’ve done in the past, to cut down the fences, which in their eyes are illegal and illegittimate. The police immediately reacted with tear gas and water jets.
3) All the injured are among the protesters; there were no injured among the police forces (as was stated by the media).
4) The lookout post in La Maddalena was subjected to damage, looting and devastation perpetrated by the police forces. The tools confiscated by the police (e.g. axes) are not weapons, but necessary tools to cut down wood.
5) The movement will go back to the post and clean it up, and will visit the fenced area again. The police brutality and the accusations made by politicians will not stop the movement.
Faithful to their words, hundreds of NO TAV activist have gone back to the fenced area this morning. They had lunch together, with hundreds of police looking at them from the other side of the fences. Then they started walking along the fences and cutting them down. The police acted immediately and fired the water jet, but miraculously misaimed, hitting instead a group of Digos officers. Well done, for once! Watch the video here:
Interesting fact: the Irish Socialist MEP Paul Murphy has sent the NO TAV a letter of solidarity. Read it here.
Thanks to notav.info for the original articles, pics and videos.