With charges such as violence, property damage and injuries to police officers, more than 40 activists of the NO TAV movement have been put under investigation: 25 are under arrest, while the remaining ones are under house arrest and similar banning orders. The operation started at dawn on January 26, saw more than 150 officers involved, and took place all over Italy (and even parts of France, where some local activists were prohibited to travel to Italy). The majority of arrests were made in Turin, but many other towns and cities were also targeted by the raids: Milan, Palermo, Rome, Padua, Genoa, and many more. The operation is specifically linked to the clashes that took place between NO TAV activists and police officers in the two big action days of summer 2011, June 27 and July 3.
Many of the arrestees are prominent activists, linked to various radical movements. In Milan the police arrested Paolo Ferrari, an ex-Red Brigade member who’d got out of prison in 2004 after a 30-year sentence, and who’d been recently linked to a local social centre. In Turin one of the historical founders of the social centre Askatasuna was also arrested, and many other social centres were raided. Guido Fissore, a retired Councillor famous in the No TAV movement for going on hunger strike last summer as part of the protests, was arrested and his house searched. He’s now under house arrest and can only communicate with his close family.
Also arrested Tobia Imperato, employee of Piedmont’s Institute for the History of Resistance and author of the book Le scarpe dei suicidi (The suicidees’ shoes, PDF downloadable here), about 3 anarchists arrested in the 90’s in Turin accused of sabotage. Two of them, Edoardo Massari and Soledad Rosas, committed suicide while still in jail. Also under investigation are four editors of Radio Black Out, the most prominent radio in the world of political activism in Italy.
The NO TAV promptly issued a statement in solidarity with the arrestees in which they talked of repression and victimisation of the movement. In response, Turin’s General Attorney claimed the investigations and arrests are not against the Susa Valley and its movement, nor against lawful displays of dissent, but against specific individuals who have committed crimes. This doesn’t quite add up with the report the DIGOS released about the operation, in which they use expressions such as “military strategies”, “paramilitary groups” and “paraterroristic actions” to describe the NO TAV movement and the events that took place last summer. The Free Republic of the Maddalena is defined as a “permanent hive of national and European leaders of the organised violence”.
Needless to say, the raids and arrests were immediately followed by demonstrations of solidarity all over Italy, with activist websites being bombarded with statements of solidarity, and pickets, benefit gigs and many other initiatives being organised to raise money to support the arrestees. Find out in my next article the addresses to write to the activists in prison, and other ways to support them.
Sources: notav.info (the main NO TAV website), and other random articles.