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Break the Silence (about the arrests in Bologne, Italy)

re-post | 19.03.2008 14:29 | Repression | Social Struggles | World

Saturday 13th October 2007 at around 4am: a girl is sleeping in piazza Verdi in Bologna (northern Italy). Police on patrol decide that the girl's behaviour is 'abnormal' and must be corrected by compulsory sanitary treatment (TSO), which means internment in a psychiatric hospital and forced administration of psychotropic drugs. The cops call the ambulance while keeping the girl under their custody against her will.

Five comrades of the anarchist place 'Fuoriluogo' witness the episode and cannot help expressing their contempt at the police. They do their best to prevent the arrest of the girl. The police's answer is brutal: armed with truncheons and even guns they chase the comrades. As the latter flee, six more police vans are called on the scene and the short escape ends in piazza San Vitale. The 5 are handcuffed while being severely beaten by the cops. A few residents in the area are clearly indignant at the police's behaviour but do not intervene.

The accusations against the comrades are quite heavy: aggravated robbery (the cops have lost a pair of handcuffs), resistance and damage (of a police van in which one of the comrades had been taken). The 5 are immediately imprisoned in La Dozza prison. Two girls are eventually put under house arrest.

That very night and the following morning the police search the houses of other comrades in Bologna with the pretext that they are searching for the disappeared handcuffs.

In the evening a spontaneous march in solidarity to the arrested anarchists is carried out. Some of the demonstrators decide to express their solidarity also through 'dangerous' writings on the walls of the town. Caught by Digos officers, they are arrested and tried summarily: Juan and Bogu are sentenced to 10 months and taken to prison whereas Davide, Alessio and Belle are sentenced to 4 months and put under house arrest.

All the arrested anarchists are inflicted high surveillance regime and censorship on their mail.

In the following months, Cristian, Federico, Andrea, Madda, Manuela and Bogu are unlocked and put under house arrest without the possibility (in Bogu's case) to receive mail, make telephone calls and see anyone who doesn't live in the house. Juan, on the contrary, is still in jail and has been transferred from one prison to another a number of times. At the moment he is being held in Poggioreale prison (Naples).

In February 2008 another three anarchists are arrested (house arrest) following the same investigation concerning the former.

These are the latest in a long series of episodes that in recent months have brought about the adoption of suffocating repressive measures in Bologna. Prohibitions of all sorts are imposed all over the city and the centre is constantly patrolled by a massive presence of police. Houses and social squats are being evicted, camps of gipsy people are being demolished with excavators and all forms of social and political dissent are being criminalized. This is done in the name of 'social security' and to solve so called 'social uneasiness', topics that have been filling the front pages of the press with the intent of stirring a sense of social fear in the citizens and divert their attention from real problems, and of fomenting an atmosphere of cynicism, indifference and resignation. Right now that it is governed by a 'leftist' major, Bologna seems to be once again a laboratory where more and more refined and widespread techniques of social control are being experimented. It is the mayor of Bologna the father of the 'security laws' approved by the committee of Italian majors and eventually adopted at a national level thanks to home secretary Amato.

In fact the 'question of security', far from being a local problem, has become the tour de force of all politicians in Italy, and a subject that gives left-wing and right-wing politicians the opportunity to be engaged in a game in which everyone tries to propose the most suitable solutions to suppress freedom. Day by day intolerance towards the 'weakest' categories is growing up. A system based on authoritarian subjugation establishes who are those to be protected and who are those to be persecuted, and inevitably exposes the excluded to cowardly violence: from the attacks against gypsy camps and the community of immigrants in general to the use of total institutions (prisons and psychiatric hospitals) and the more and more frequent raids carried out by gangs of neo fascists.

This progressive and obvious devastation of social relationships is not carried out at random. On the contrary, we think it demonstrates that a well-thought process of restoration of order is under way, a process that is making giant steps in order to change the rules of this 'democratic' State. It is not a restoration directed to the past, it is rather a condition necessary to consolidate a political, economic and social system, which is strategically based on war. In fact, while the armies of all western States (including the British and the Italian ones) are engaged into massacring the poorest populations in order to 'export democracy' in every corner of the world, the suppression of any space where opposition and dissent can express themselves has become absolute priority at all levels, from the international one to the local one: massive militarisation of urban space, increase in the number of prisoners, deportation of immigrants and shameless persecution of all social struggles, from workers' strikes to squatting of houses, from protests against eco-devastation to opposition to war. Obviously the most persecuted are those who openly declare themselves enemies of the State and its social order. Those people who don't let themselves be deceived by the propaganda of the regime can therefore recognize the real causes of 'insecurity' and 'social uneasiness'.

Deaths at work and fires in workplaces that are occurring in Italy almost on a daily basis cause more dead and injured than any criminal activity. At the same time the impoverishment hitting most people does not depend on thefts and robberies but on wages that are more and more inadequate to the cost of living.

The real insecurity is caused by the constant growth of precarious jobs, which are paid very poorly and do not offer any safeguard, by continuous dismissal of workers (due to the transfer abroad of businesses, where labour force is cheap enough according to the bosses' needs), by unaffordable renting prices and by a welfare that cannot offer anything, on the contrary: in Italy people die because of wrong sanitary treatment or get intoxicated by rubbish left to accumulate in the streets.

This is not only an Italian story: repressive strategies and social control aimed at preventing the excluded and exploited to unite against their common enemy are being adopted everywhere.

This story, therefore, concerns all of us.


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