(en) Eurostop: the Italians & their trains

Hobo (hobo@iol.it)
Mon, 16 Jun 1997 03:37:58 +0200

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from the organizers of eurostop in amsterdam: -------- A recapitulation of the story of the Italians their trains. As if the train was hijacked. Only the roles had been swapped radically. The police fenced in a train on the Central Station in Amsterdam. Hundred and fifty of the passengers, demonstrators coming from Milan, were not allowed to leave the train. They were hostages for hours on the Central Station. But why? As the police explained, these people had destroyed two compartments of the train. What they destroyed however, never became clear. Luca, from radio Sherwood in Padova, later told the big demonstration on the Damsquare stage, that italians from all parts of Italy, had met friday at the Central Station of Milano, to leave from there to Amsterdam. They were with too many, so the one train was not enough. The station was practically occupied by the demonstrators. They managed to get another train by occupying it in the meantime having negotiations with the authorities. Luca on stage in Amsterdam saturday-evening: "Once in the train on our way to Holland, we refused at each border to show our documents. We presented ourselves as 'sans-papiers', not citizens of states, but members of humanity. We also refused to pay the train. Seen the fact that we were going to demonstrate against disoccupation and for work, it's obvious that we couldn't afford to pay for this trip." He declared that the italians wouldn't leave Amsterdam before their companions were released.

Small groups of demonstrators went from the Dam to the Central Station to see if anything could be done. Various tries to reach the train on the stations were blocked of by the police, which kept them busy for hours late Friday afternoon. The police acted pretty violent according to reports. In the meantime the organizers of the big demonstration, the Platform for a Different Europe, negociated with the police and the mayor about releasing the hostages. It soon became clear that the Platform tended to believe everything the authorities said. Frases like 'if the Italians damaged the train, I agree with their arrest' were heard from Platform-organizers who were asked for an act of support for the Italians. At the beginning of the evening the 131 Italians from the train were handcuffed with plastic strips (the ones that get more tied as soon as you move.) They were shoved into public transport busses and moved to the Bijlmerbajes, the biggest jail of Amsterdam. The police started taking bringing them in, taking photographs and fingerprints, but at 20.00 hrs, according to police-sources, the decision was taken to put them on a train back to Italy. They were transported to Sloterdijk train station (outside the city) and rejoined with their fellow Italians. But the story didn't end there. The first train was seen on a side track in Maarn, near the city of Utrecht from 23.35 hrs until about 2.00. The second train still had not left Amsterdam at 2.30 hrs (!) In Arnhem the train was stopped by the Italians themselves because they wanted food & drinks, according to some reports. Another version claims, the train had to wait until the border station in Emmerich - Germany was staffed again. At 6.30 the train was still in Arnhem, according to the official newsservice ANP. Early this morning they were transferred to an other train. The first train passed Karlsruhe at three in the afternoon, the second train is one hour behind them, after a few hours of delay in Mannheim. The police got onto the train and proceeded to a massive identification taking names and pictures of the people on the train. Nobody was allowed to get out. The train was blinded, the windows taped with some kind of plastic, what does this remind us of? And yes, the people did get some water and something to eat. At 20.00 hrs Saturday evening the train passed the Italian border. The arrival in Lugano can be a problem, rumour has it that foreign authorities (Dutch? German?) want to have everybody arrested by the Italians. Italian papers today mentioned negotiations with the Italian government. Unclear though is who is negotiating. As it seems, from a phonecall with someone in the first train, the italian government don't want them to be arrested. Then who does? The arrival of the train (if there won't be more unforessen stops) is expected for 22.00 at the Milano Lambrate station. No news is available about the press conference there. This leaves us with a number of other questions. Who ordered the hijack of the Italian train in Amsterdam? Why was 90% of the people allowed to leave the train? Were the 131 remaining Italians so special? What was the legal ground for this action? The start of the large demonstration on Saturday was delayed for almost two hours to await the train with Italian companions. This solidarity vanished as soon as the police held the train. Suddenly the Platform distanced itself from the Italians. How come? The word is out that mayor Patijn realized he made a mistake with handling the train the way he did. If he had not created the impasse with the train in the first place, a lot of riots would have been prevented. An official statement on this subject would be appreciated.

------------------------- collettivo infodiret(t)e ECN - Padova e-mail: hobo@ecn.org http://www.ecn.org/pad/

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