In the same week that saw students occupy the Colosseum and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy today has seen more occupations, street battles and blockades of railway stations by students opposing new education reforms.
Rome was brought to a virtual standstill by the Block Everything Day ahead of the vote on spending cuts and time limits on research. Students blocked roads and central squares in Rome, and hundreds surrounded the Chamber of Deputies as riot police maintained a tight cordon. Cars were unable to circulate around the city as other students blocked roads and major throughways.
Thousands of students streamed through central Rome towards parliament, chanting and waving banners with slogans such as 'education is on its knees' and threw eggs, vegetables, bottles and fireworks towards parliament.
Traffic was disrupted in other major cities, from Turin to Palermo, while students blocked the tracks at railway stations in Milan, Pisa and Venice. In Genoa, students protested under the slogan "they block our future, we block the cities."
In Naples, protesters took advantage of the rubbish collection crisis to throw the debris and rubbish bags lining the streets at the doors of the regional government office.
Below is a tranlsation of a minute-by-minute rundown of the day's events in Italy (original translation can be found here):
Naples 13:00 – Castello dell'Ovo occupied!
Padova 13:00 – One of the two blocks [of demonstrators – libcom ed.] just got into the station! The other one is walking through Prato della Valle, in the direction of the station.
Genoa 13:15 – The blockades continue: university and high school students are crossing the flyover, the bridge that links east with west, taking the motorway exit Genoa west.
Rome 13:25 – The students, with their books [shields made to look like books – libcom ed.] just reached The Pantheon!
Pisa 13:25 – The science faculties block has occupied the station! After blocking the major ringroad, the 4,000-strong humanities faculty is reaching the students and researchers on the platforms!
Rome 13:35 – A huge deployment of police block the entrance to Montecitorio. Students throw vegetables and toilet paper while shouting: “Dismissed! Dismissed!”
Palermo 13:40 – The students keep blocking the city. Both lanes of Via Ernesto Basile are blocked. The struggle continues!
Bologna 13:40 – Students keep invading the streets. 5,000 on the highway. We don't stop here, we walk back towards the centre of town to block everything!
Naples 13:40 – Castello dell'Ovo is still occupied. Hundreds of students are now holding an assembly.
Padova 13:45 – Now the other block has reached the station. All the platforms have been invaded by students. THE STATION IS BLOCKADED!
Bologna 14:00 – Thousands continue to blockade the city. One after the other, interventions take place calling for the government to resign. And now we go wherever we like!
Pisa 14:00 – About 10,000 students, researchers and precarious are occupying all the platforms in the station! The ringroad is completely occupied! We'll fight the reform!
Naples 14:00 – The assembly of occupied Castello dell'Ovo calls for a new meeting at Palazzo Giusso at 17:00.
Genoa 14:20 – After finishing with the flyover, the block gets down at Sampieradena and continues the street blockades.
Rome 14:20 – After having a protesting outside Parliament, the block reconvenes on Corso Vittorio to restart the blockades of the city.
Padova 14:30 - “We inform the kind customers that the station is occupied!” The students and researchers announcement over the station's speakers starts like this, with the sound of the mechanical voice which usually announces trains.
Bologna 14:30 – The large block is walking towards the station.
Genoa 14:30 – 500 continue on an imromptu demonstration; blockading the exit of the Genoa West highway. The city is split into two by the student protests.
Bologna 15:00 – Very heavy repression in front of the station on the block. Tear gas has been thrown at students. The students wanted to block the platforms after having paralysed the city. Many have been injured. Two girls have been stopped and then released.
Milan 15:00 – Occupation of platforms at Cadorna and Garibaldi Stations!
Rome 15:00 – The 'wild' block of students got to Via del Corso where police armoured trucks have blocked the street and any way of accessing Montecitorio. The books of the Book Block are again spearheading the block! Vegetables, eggs and toilet paper against this government!
Padova 15:00 – The students leave the station. Hundreds of minutes accumulated by trains. We restart the block with a soundsystem. In thousands in the direction of the centre of Padova and the Palace of Bo, the headquarters of the University Chancellor.
Roma 15:30 – Block of students are charged hard on the Via del Corso!!!! The police throw tear gas at students that try to keep their block.
Bologna 15:30 – The block, after the attacks, reforms itself and is again blocking the street of the city. Everyone is calling for an immediate general strike.
Rome 16:00 – The students try to get to the Parliament, on Via del Corso, fights, charges and tear gas against the students. In reply: eggs, firecrackers and smoke bombs are thrown at the armoured vehicles. The block now gathers again at Piazza del Popolo!
Milan 16:30 – Rogoredo station blockaded. Meeting at 17:30 in Gioia metro station.
Rome 16:30 – The block of student has changed direction on Piazza del Popolo and now is going to block Torto Muro. Traffic is mad!
Rome 17:00 – This is a big day of struggle! Still tens of thousands of students are blocking Rome. Completely blockaded Via del Muro Torto! Students shout: “the reform won't pass!”
Rome 17:30 – Thousands of students occupy Termini station!!!
Rome 17:30 – If they block our futures, we will block the Eurostar!!!! With this choir of thousands of students with smoke bombs and placards, arrived at the platform of Termini station!
Milan 17:40 – The blockades in Milan will start. Loreto is blockaded. We start again!
Palermo 17:50 – Hundreds in block from Literature, direction city of Palermo. Other blocks with the same direction, they move at the same time. We continue to blockade everything!
Milan 18:00 – Charge at Missori station. 'Wild' blocks all around town
Pisa 18:00 – Again, 10,000 after getting out from the station and having blocked Aurelia [name of a street – libcom ed.] the students invade the FI-LI-PI with the highway directions. This extraordinary day, nothing stops us!
Milan 18:20 – Police charge on one of the three blocks that are locked in Santa Sofia. Now the blocks restart. Different people have been stopped.
Milan 18:30 – The students calls for a public block. Gathering at 20:00 in Palestro!
Rome 18:30 – Students get back into the occupied faculties at La Sapienza university. Just the time to decide what to do to continue this mobilisation!
Palermo 19:00 – Street blockades all over town; ALL OF THEM [police – ed.] HAVE TO LEAVE!
Pisa 19:00 – The spontaneous blocks gets onto the A12 highway, blocking the entrance to central Pisa. The police can't do anything except watch! They can't stop us!
Palermo 19:00 – The number of students on the streets increases, traffic is paralysed. Street blockades between Corso Vittoria and Via Roma. Let's block the reform, let's block the city!
Milan 19:25 – No one has been stopped in Milan. But the students kept being held up in Santa Sofia by police outside.
Rome 20:15 – With 307 'yes' and 252 'no', the Gelmini reform has been approved in Parliament. But we don't stop. This is only the beginning. The government will fall apart before the law comes back to the senate!
Palermo 21:00 – Occupied the town hall of Palermo and blockaded the town assembly. The students have called for an assembly at the town hall at 21:30.
Milan 21:00 – The block leaves Palestro towards San Babila. Santa Sofia occupied. Blockades continue. People like us will never give up!!!!
Milan 21:30 – Heavy rain, the block finishes in San Babila with the Santa Sofia faculty occupied. Milan is blockaded by the barricades done by the different student collectives.