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(en) Italy, Milano, Metropolix squat evicted

From "Giuliano" <acunzoli@tin.it>
Date Thu, 2 Mar 2000 16:20:17 -0500

      A - I N F O S  N E W S  S E R V I C E


Punctual as promised, this early morning at 6.30 AM about 200 anti riot
policemen showed up in the old, popular block of Milano Isola to evict the
squatted youth hostel Metropolix.

They were welcomed by few hundreds activists which waited for them the
whole night in front and inside the squat. But it was not a passive
waiting: during the night, the activists have been building 4 or 5
barricades with old furniture, tires, etc, blocking all accesses to the
square where the squat to be evicted lays. And as soon as the police
stepped out from their busses, the barricades were set on fire. Meanwhile,
the press could follow everything thanks to a sort of turret built by the
activists in the middle of the square.

These were only the first ones of a serie of civil resistance surprises.

Soon the whole block was filled with black smoke. The police tried to pass
the blockade by foot, but also that wasn't easy due to the physical
resistance of the camarades. Finally, after about one hour of riots, the
cops succeeded and could enter the square -- only to run against another

The squat was completely isolated by a tall metal barrier, built with
scaffolding irons. The resisting activists quickly runned behind it,
opposing even more resistance because the police could not reach them with
their sticks. At that point they lost their heads, and started to shoot
teargas bombs at men's height. But the barrier kept, and the whole area was
filled with teargas. And even journalists cried.

This second confrontation lasted another hour, then the camarades retreated
all together, in order, so to avoid people being taken and arrested,
positiong themself on a corner of the square and keeping compact as a
single body. Everybody had instructions and everybody knew what to do. As
usual in Milan, no hooliganism was allowed.

The police had thus free access to the squat, but here another surprise:
inside the house, in this last days, activists have been actively building
walls, reinforcing doors, making holes in the ground, so that the whole
squat was turned into a huge trap. It took them a good half an hour to
reach the roof, where the last surprise waited them.

5 camarades where there ready with cords. As soon as the first cop showed
up, they lowered themselves down, hanging midway between the roof and the
ground, at about 10 meters height.

Riots stopped and firekeepers, ambulances, helicopters and Tvs arrived (the
usual mess you can imagine). But the 5 protesting activists refused to be
helped as long as the Head of Milan police did not promise to let them and
the other camarades go without identifying/ prosecuting anybody. When the
agreement was reached, they let themselves to be helped down and went away
with the other camarades waiting them. It was half past ten -- it took
police 4 hours to overcome resistance.

There are no news of arrestations, and it seems that nobody was seriuosly
wounded -- no policeman, no demonstrant. Thus, the demonstrative action had
a full success. Metropolix is lost -- a 2 years long experience of
self-managed, self-organized antagonist youth hostel which hosted last year
hundreds and hundreds of young people unable to pay hotel fares, besides
the 40 people living in it. A social and political answer to the lack of
homes for young people suffered in this city delivered, bonded hands and
feet, to the speculative powers of large corporations.

And as it happened with the "Deposito Bulk", a big squat evicted in
December which occupied another place on New Year's Eve, also Metropolix
plans to get back with another occupation in the next days. One lost, one
taken. That's the rule. Corporative powers are learning it.


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