A rally of students was brutally charged by the police in Naples on Tuesday morning. The images of the attack went viral immediately, shared both on mainstream and independent media, from Repubblica to youreporter.it.
Surprisingly, almost all sources unanimously introduce the video with the same caption, reporting a police intervention in order to divide two clashing group of protesters and presenting the incident as a scuffle between students and workers. The video can be seen below:
Yet the footage tells a different story: a group of protesters attacked the students’ rally unprovoked, with the complicity and support of the police, who charged and chased the students without identifying those responsible for the violence.
The events took place in Naples, in Piazza Plebiscito on the morning of May 7. About 100 students were protesting in front of the Prefecture: they were demonstrating their solidarity peacefully with the students brutally charged by the police at the State University in Milan the day before (May 6), and were waiting for the arrival of Maria Carrozza, newly nominated Minister of Education.
A few meters away, around thirty former workers of the Consorzi di Bacino were also demonstrating against their job losses, as they have been doing for several months. A group of neo-fascist extremists entered their ranks. They were led by Salvatore Lezzi, a local member of Forza Nuova who was tried in 2003 for alleged involvement with organized crime. Neo-Fascists started taunting the students, then attacked them.
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Policemen who had been standing nearby then immediately charged and dispersed the students with anti-riot batons. Two more charges followed, as police chased students in the alleys behind the square. One student was injured. Several other students and researchers were identified by police; they were all released but they reported intimidating behavior during their questioning. Police attacked left-wing activists once more during the afternoon, for no apparent reason, as they had regrouped and formed a rally in Via San Sebastiano.
This episode of violence closely follows the violent repression of student protest in Milan and it comes as a sinister start for the term of Angelino Alfano, the Minister of the Interior coming from the ranks of Berlusconi’s party.
Meanwhile, biased media keep criminalizing dissenting voices and protesting students even when they are suddenly attacked at a peaceful demo, while neo-fascists pose undisturbed as representatives of the “workers”.