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(en) Italy: Police attack families during charges in Palermo, Sicily (it)

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sun, 18 Jul 2004 11:19:20 +0200 (CEST)

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On the afternoon of Wednesday 7th July, a peaceful protest of several
families from the "Comitato di Lotta per la Casa 12 luglio" [12th July
Committee for the Struggle for Housing] was suppressed by the Police
using batons. After a fruitless discussion at police headquarters where
it had been suggested to the families that they wait a further two
weeks for yet another meeting, the families had decided to set up a
road block in an attempt to bring the city's traffic to a halt. The
road blocks, designed to interrupt the flow of traffic intermittently,
began at Via Maqueda - symbolically opposite the offices of the local
authority Housing Department.

After twenty minutes, a block was set up at the intersection of Via
Stabile and Via R. Settimo. Finally, at 6pm the families (supported by
several comrades and other citizens in a show of solidarity) blocked
the intersection of Via Cavour and Via Settimo, near the Teatro

At that stage, about a dozen policemen (who had already been showing
signs of impatience for a quarter of an hour) charged on the families
without warning at set at them with kicks, punches and batons. The
attack was watched with horror and fear by passers-by who witnessed an
unheard-of and unjustifiable scene of ferocity. Twenty unarmed people,
including a child of 8 years of age, were brutally assaulted by the
police. After a few minutes, an ambulance arrived to take the child to
hospital where he is recovering, though he has a large bruise on his

The delirium went on for over an hour: officials from the Police and
the "Digos" (Special Branch) arrived to offer cowardly excuses in an
attempt to justify what had happened, even managing to deny some things
that were patently undeniable. Passers-by, many of whom were
scandalized by the events, provided plenty of eye-witness accounts in
support of the families. Even one journalist was pushed around by
police thugs when he took a camera out of his bag on his arrival at the

The police strategy to remove responsibility from the officers involved
in the attack and calm down the situation was based on insults,
intimidation and systematic denial of the events.

After being taken to police headquarters, two representatives of the
Committee later announced that the discussions will recommence at the
start of the next week.

This repressive response, which was as unjustifiable as it was
disproportionate, represents clear intimidation of the women and men
who over the past two years have achieved much by organizing themselves
and self-managing their struggle.

On Friday 9th July, the Committee called a Public Assembly in order to
denounce the events of 7th July and to re-state their intention to
continue the struggle and, if possible, increase the scope of their
demands to other families who have to endure similar precarious

The "Comitato di Lotta per la Casa 12 luglio" is an organization which
has always shown itself to be firm in its protests and absolutely
transparent where its actions are concerned. If certain shadowy figures
think they can frighten the people by attacking them (children and
babies included), they would do well to remember that these people are
not alone!

Nucleo "Giustizia e Libertà"
of the Federazione Anarchica Siciliana

Translation by nmcn/ainfos

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