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(en) Italy: Protests over political arrests

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Mon, 18 Nov 2002 06:01:43 -0500 (EST)


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On Saturday, 16 novembre 2002, protests were carried out all
over Italy following the arrests of over 20 anti-globalization
and union activists in southern Italy on charges of "subversive
association" and similar.

The demo in Rome set off with already well over 5,000 marchers,
to be joined by thousands more along the route which led to the
central square, Piazza Venezia, and on up Via del Corso as far
as the Parliament buildings.

There were banners and flags everywhere, as the "movement"
showed its ability to mobilize, even so shortly after the
long-planned demo in Florence, last week.

The theme of the demo in Rome centred on the magistracy's
attempts (clearly under orders from the policitians) to
criminalize the movement, treating its adherents as
"subversives". As a result, a popular slogan for banners and
ploacards was "we are all subversive!". Clearly many placards
contained calls for the release of the prisoners and in fact the
banner which led the march read " You can't hold the movement.
Free them all!"

Interestingly, the reaction of people not involved in the march
was to get on with their ordinary lives - shops remained open,
people walked along and crossed the streets without fear of the
thousands of "subversives" swarming around them!

By the time the march arrived at Piazza Venezia there were, at a
conservative estimate, approximately 20,000 participants,
probably more. Some estimates go as high as 50,000, but the
figure of 20/25,000 is more credible. 

Access to Via del Corso (which leads to the parliament) was
closed off by ranks of police and their vehicles, as the march
was due to finish off in a small square around the corner. This
proved impossible as this square can hold only about 3-4,000.
Meanwhile Piazza Venezia was rapidly filled to bursting point,
but suddenly the police cordon dispersed, leaving Via del Corso
open for the throng. With the police backing off in front of
them, the marchers swept up Via del Corso, to the bemusement of
the Saturday-afternoon shoppers.

When the crowd finally reached the square in front of the
Government Buildings at Palazzo Chigi the cry "We are all
subversives!" rang out.

Not even here, on Via del Corso and surroundings, did the shops
shut up business - it would have been ridiculous - there was no
tension, there were no rioters, the government's attempt to
criminalize us just does not hold water, and people are starting
to realize that now. The devastating hordes ... oh yeah? Where?

Remember, this was all in the name of freedom. And freedom
brings joy, not pain; dancing, not crying; music, not police
sirens; sociability, not division. 

* * *

Figures for other demonstrations in various parts of Italy
yesterday:

Florence: march - 3.000 
Viareggio: march - 500 
Perugia: march - 500 
Genoa: road block
Naples: demo - 15.000 
Palermo: march - 1.000
Pisa: sit-in at courthouse of 200
Milan: march - 3.000
Latina: demo in front of female prison
Taranto: demo - 4.000
Arezzo: demo - 200
Bergamo: sit-in and road block
Terni: demo - 150
Monza: demo
Catania: demo - 500
Seregno: demo - 300
Modena: demo
Trani prison: sit-in
Reggio Calabria: demo
Piacenza: demo
Schio (Vicenza): demo
Grosseto: demo
L'Aquila: resoconto

[information from indymedia and others - nmcn/ainfos]

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