Italy: civil war in Valsusa – Repression against NO TAV movement

Greetings from the Free Republic of the Maddalena

After a crowded torchlight march on the night between June 26th and 27th, the Free Republic of the Maddalena in Piedmont was brutally assaulted by a full-scale military operation performed by around 2000 forces that turned the place into a battle site: teargas thrown at eye level, bulldozers and heavy vehicles used to evict the camp, water jets against protesters, beatings, tents and equipment smashed up. In the nearby town of Venaria, a riot police vehicle on its way to the site ran over and killed “by mistake” an elderly woman.

Demonstrations, pickets and several other initiatives were organised all over Italy to show solidarity with the NO TAV movement that for years has been fighting against the construction of a high speed train line between Turin and Lyon in France. A national demo was called out for today 3rd July, and it’s still going on as I’m writing this. It’s about 8.40pm and it’s difficult to have a clear idea of what’s been happening at the Maddalena today, but what is clear is that there have been hundreds of people injured on both sides (but it’s only one side that I care about). Police have been using rubber bullets and at least one young man is seriously injured after being shot in the face. Protesters have compared the military operation to the repression in Palestine…check out some of the videos to make your mind up (please go to my blog to watch them).

The Val di Susa (Susa Valley) has been one of the most important political campaigns of the last few years, organising resistance and fighting to protect the local territory and the locals’ health, that governments and companies would like to sacrifice once more in the name of profit. The TAV project (where TAV stands for High Speed Train) is basically a transfer of public money to a group of private companies united under the name Impregilo – multimillionaire companies such as FIAT, Benetton and others. After construction, these companies would be allowed to set up and run their own private rail service in competition with the State Railways (just in case they didn’t make enough money already). Despite not being finished yet, the business enterprise has already earned its contractors (all of which are millionaire businessmen) a very high income.

Sources for this article: Indymedia Piedmont and the new Italy Indymedia site. Cool postcard images also found on Indymedia sites – thank you unknown artists!

For a brief history of the NO TAV movement read my other article.

Check out my blog at http://italycalling.wordpress.com!

Comments

Ed
Jul 3 2011 23:10

Italy Calling, thanks a lot for sticking this up! I was gonna have a go at looking for some stuff tomorrow.. I heard on the radio that 60,000 turned up to the demo and that there was four hours of strong fighting between protesters and cops (I think 80 cops injured, didn't catch how many protesters).. the radio presenter also described the fighting as 'guerrilla' eek

Funnily enough, me and my mates completely by chance were driving through that part of Italy and saw loads of knackered looking No TAV protesters and little towns in the mountains with anti-TAV stuff everywhere - posters in people's windows and banners on their houses, graffiti through the town, on the side of the roads and even massive ones on the side of the mountain! It was pretty inspiring to see.. the motorway was closed and there was mad traffic for about two hours (literally cars not able to move) . When we finally did get going you could see cops in the road stopping cars)..

Anyway, will try and find more info tomorrow..

Ed
Jul 4 2011 08:59

Yo, so very little about in English but there was this shitey article on the BBC website.

In Italy this is pretty big news though, with pretty much every newspaper website having it as the main story. The agreed number of police injured (from Il Giornale, Berlusconi paper, to La Repubblica, equivalent to The Guardian) seems to be about 200..

This video from the La Repubblica website is pretty good (the title seems a bit absurd: 'From march to war' - though the fighting does look quite heavy).

A whole bunch of videos here from Corriere della Sera. Also some photos of the protest, split neatly into good demonstrators and bad demonstrators.. anyway, the photos are pretty impressive..

Last bit, from looking around I read (or at least I think I read, my Italian is still pretty shit) that apparently last week, a 65-year-old woman was killed at the protest when an anti-riot vehicle ran over her. No mention of this on ANY of the mainstream news sites (from left to right).

Italy Calling (or any of the Italian users), do you have any information on this? What is the level of involvement from the local people? It seemed pretty high from just driving through but (obviously) the news are saying that the 'troublemakers' are all 'social centre types'.. also, what is the feeling with the campaign? Do people feel like it's winnable?

Anyway, again, cheers for posting something up on this.. just as I was losing faith in the Italians too wink

Italy Calling
Jul 4 2011 10:22

Hi Ed. Yeah, this is top news in Italy right now but the NO TAV movement has been going for years (almost 20!), and the level of involvement is BIG. It started from the local population - "ordinary" people and it's got the support of all sorts of organisations and groups, including of course social centres and activists groups of all sorts.
I wouldn't trust the shite the mainstream media say - they're all about the usual "good protesters against bad protesters" divide. The official numbers are pretty hard to figure out, the last thing I read last night said about 200 injured, mostly policemen - this is what I put in the article but it's really hard to say when there's so much contradicting information coming from all sort of sources...
I did put in my article the news about an elderly lady being killed. This happened a few days after the first big demo and the vehicle was driving thru a town to get to base (this was on a day when there were no protests). Apparently they ran the lady over and only realised minutes later when they saw someone on the pavement in their rearview mirror - I have found on most alternative information sites like Indymedia etc...but nowhere on mainstream media.
If you're interested in the NO TAV I've also put another article on my blog, about their history and principles. I'll look up stuff when I get home today and try to translate more in the next few days.
Cheers

sandro
Jul 5 2011 08:04

Hi Italy Calling,
thanks for this article in english about what's happening in Val di Susa.
As Italy Calling said above, the NOTAV movement is going on since many years.
The clashes on July the 3rd were quite rough, and police behaved brutally as expected. You may want to look at this interview with a demonstrator caught by the police to have an idea of the level of repression in Italy right now...
Of course, almost everything about this is slipping from mainstream news now...