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(en) Italy, Milan, MIGRANTS: Close the lagers, build hospitality

From Giuliano <acunzoli@tin.it>
Date Sat, 26 Feb 2000 11:34:08 -0500


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CLOSE THE LAGERS, BUILD HOSPITALITY

Close Via Corelli!
Defend Metropolix!
Fit via Barzaghi!

This you can read on a 90 sq. mt. banner hanging since yesterday, Friday
25th, on one of the historical doors of the City of Milan, namely the
napoleonic Porta Ticinese, overlooking the city center and the old Roman
Market area.

Providing from the usual rush hour confusion, a group of 7 "Ya Basta"
activists climbed the ancient monument yesterday at 5 PM. The police
arrived  few minutes later, just too late to stop the people climbing but
right in time to handcuff one of the camarades helping them from beneath.
There followed half an hour of tension -- the camarades on the spot were
quite little, since the action was kept secret to ensure its success. The
handcuffed camarade, thrown without much care into a police car, was freed
only when the Ya Basta activists started to install a tend on top of the
monument, stating their intention to stay there as long as required.

The action, aimed to give visibility to February 26 -- second national
action day for the rights of migrants (demos planned in Turin, Bologna,
Florence, Rome and Palermo, actions planned wherever possible) -- focuses
on three main topics:

1. Via Corelli:

The lager not only isn't closed yet, but works at full regime. Last month,
the Minister of Home Affairs publicly declared -- after the great Jan. 29
demo -- his decision to close it within 10 days because of the violations
to the human rights. Well, here we are -- one month later. Is the lager not
violating the human rights anymore? 

On top of this, a new law about the ruling of the lagers prevents civil
society associations -- like Ya Basta -- from entering via Corelli without
a comprehensive intervention plan to be approved by... the head of Milan
police. And, in change for the supposed closure of via Corelli and of a
lager in the Straits of Otranto region (Francavilla Fontana), the
governments plans to open even more lagers -- "humanized", of course.

Well, considering the attitude held up to now from the centre-left
government about the migration problem, we can't avoid a lot of worries
about that definition, "humanized". After the humanitarian war, are we
heading into the humanitarian lagers?

2. City problems: Via Barzaghi

Via Barzaghi is a "favela" at the doors of Milan. You know those endless
rows of barracks were thousands of people live -- we usually see them only
on TV, and we tend to think they are only in far away African of Latin
America countries. Well, 10 years of right-wing city government gave also
to the "City of Fashion" a similar example of civilization. Behind a row of
40 stores glass buildings, a real mosaic of Balcanic nationalities lives in
barracks where a lot of "civilized" people wouldn't even let their dogs
sleep. We came there answering the cry for help of one of those
communities, the Bosniac Romas, which came to our meeting on Wednesday.
They all have a permit to stay, but this didn't prevent the city of Milan
from chasing them away from their previous place -- it's a semi-nomadic
community -- and forcing them to sleep next to a dump. And since they
resisted it, the city police took them away most of their caravans -- with
the result that now about 190 people, men, women and children, sleep in
filthy barracks in a rat infested place. Some of them are sick -- they get
no medical care. Childrens don't go to school -- nobody cares.

I was there personally, and really, it's a shit. I couldn't believe my own
eyes. You also won't, when we will scan the pictures we took there and
spread them on the net!

So, via Barzaghi too. That's a product from a centre-right city government
-- but really, where's the difference among center-right and center left?
It looks the same policy to me!

3. The squatted youth hostel "Metropolix"

Yes, the attack to the Social Centers is one of the favourite topics of the
Milan's major. Now he wants to evict Metropolix, a place where hundreds of
young people from all over the world could sleep and have fun for little
money -- a place providing a service absolutely missing in this city. 

For us, these 3 cases are absolutely connected: it's the wild attack to the
popular, weaker classes brought forth by neoliberism. This articulates in
the creation of fake emergencies -- such as the equation: Romas = criminals
(and if they ain't so, well, let's piss them off by sending them in a dump,
maybe they get mad and react in a way we can use...) -- in the construction
of lagers for people non conforming to neoliberistic needs, and obviously
in the attack to the only existing opposition -- the Social Centers and the
grassroot area.

Yesterday Milan was paralized by the public transports strike launched by
the grassroots unions. Today, one of its monuments bears the huge sign of
people ready to put themselves into play to stop the logics of neoliberism.

The Ya Basta! activists are ready to continue their protest as long as they
don't get satisfactory answers both from the national government and from
the city government. About a hundred people supports them now from beneath
with a colourful street party.

And the battle is continuing.

Giuliano

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