GLOBAL NEWS FLASH
report on Italy will be completed
A peaceful demo in front of the GMO Exhibition "Bionova" — attended by the top managers of GMO companies — was wildly attacked by the police.
Padua is the Italian city most favourable to biotechnologies, so much to open a university course on biotechnology. Immediately Milan did the same at the new university pole "Bicocca". A real race after a supposed lot of corporate money!
On the other side, many Italian cities, especially small ones, declared themselves "biotech-free zones" in these last months.
However, this morning in Padua several hundreds people from the Social Centers, environmentalist and greens gathered outside the Trade Exhibition gates to pay a peaceful visit inside and show their opposition to biotechs directly to the top managers of Monsanto, Dupont, Novartis, etc, all together there to illustrate the "advantages" of this wonderful technology.
Well, the Padua demonstrants tasted on their own skin some of this advantages: the repression brought into society by this bunch of pirates. Infact, as soon as the demo moved toward the exhibition, the police made a first, very heavy attack. The demo was lead by the Venezia city councillor Beppe Caccia, a famous pacifist and a Green, to show its absolutely peaceful character. As a result, the city councillor was beaten up and --according to the first reports — arrested.
The demonstrants reacted to the police attack as they could — after someriots the demo continued, only to run into an even heavier attack which sent several people to the hospital, one — a camerade from Rovigo — quite seriously wounded.
At this point, seen the heavy corporate/police reaction and in order to avoid falling into the corporate trap of depicting anti-GMO demonstrants as a bunch of freaks and hooligans, the demonstration ended — but not the anti GMO struggle, of course. One nice thing, the only one, was that the riots forced the police to close the Trade Exhibition for the whole morning, so nobody could get in or out. Hundreds of visitors could see with their own eyes what happens when you try to stop biotechnologies by direct action, not only by attending to TV talk shows.
for more info, check the Italian Antagonist Web Page: http://www.ecn.org
then "Presenze", then "Radio Sherwood"
A large number of people from the anarchist/ Social Centers area joins a grassroot trade union demonstration (not about n30) and gives it a strong anti-globalization character, sensibilizing the workers at the demo about the dangers of speculative "free" trade and about the "Valzer round" in Seattle. The idea is quite successful, and workers and squatters are for once — again united against WTO.
Meanwhile, a group of "White Coveralls" (direct action group from the zapatist/ social centers area) occupied the first and foremost McDonald's in Milan, in piazza S. Babila, locking themselves on the building facade, hanging enormous banners which denounced neoliberism and its effects and distributing flyers to the amused passers-by in the irrealistic scenario created by the music of the "Banda degli ottoni a scoppio", a squatter music band playing popular music.
The action, undisturbed by the police, lasted a couple of hours and ended when the grassroot trade union demo entered the San Babila square. Then, in a sort of triumph, one representative of the White Coveralls spoke to the demonstrants.
After that, the White Coveralls showed up in the city-wide meeting for the closure of the prison camps for migrants, which was going on at the same time, with a wide McDonald banner hanged upside down to symbolize the non-food served by this multinational of rubbish food.
Students of the new University "La Bicocca" occupy the faculty of "Biological Sciences" to protest against WTO and biotech food.
Permanent info tend in Largo Cairoli, a very central square, to inform the citizens about WTO and the reasons of our protests against it — but also about the Narmada and Itoiz dams, the prison camps for migrants, etc.
The day ended up with a debate at the Social Center Leoncavallo with the participation of Andres Barreda Marin, professor at the UNAM University in Mexico City, which spoke about the influences of USA economy on globalization and on the situation in Chiapas. The debate was attended by about 150 peoples.
We were expelled from the Milan prison camp for migrants in via Corelli. In about 3 months of continuous monitoring, it's the first time that happens something like that.
Since this mail is going to many recipients, allow me a brief introduction: the zapatist association "Ya Basta!", together with other grassroots "realities" (the migrant groups of the Leoncavallo, plus other groups and social centers active in Milan), conquered last september the right to enter in via Corelli thanks to direct actions and wide demonstrations which brought thousands of people in front of the gates of this lager.
Our request was pretty simple: it's a lager, let's close it. It's a lager not only because of the horrible look of those metal containers and tall bars — it would be a lager even if it would be the Sheraton, for the very simple reason that people is locked there inside because they belong to a SOCIAL CATEGORY, not because they broke somehow the law. In fact, at least in Italy, the criminal offence of "illegal immigration" does not exist, and the migrants are locked in the prison camps by the same authority that gives you a parking ticket — the Prefect — and not by the Judicial power. So, it's the same as the Nazi's (the problem is that you are a Jew, not a criminal. Same for the migrants). So, we decided as Ya Basta to exploit all possibilities to close up the lager by joining with other associations and attacking on two fronts: the political front (demos, pressure on authorities, etc) and the "front line" — i.e. a continuous monitoring of the situation to find evidences of judicial and police abuses, etc. But to work with others is always difficult. One by one, the others left: by now, us and the Leoncavallo people are the only ones that, every Wednesday 2.30 PM, show up before the Corelli gates to entreview the migrants in the freezing cold till 4.30 PM.
But yesterday, a little surprise: we were completely unknown to the police, as if it was the first time we ever showed up. How comes?
Monday, Nov. 29, an Algerian migrant imprisoned in via Corelli — Youssef Magry — came somehow to know that he would have been send back... to Marocco. They do it, sometimes, you know? We don't have clear evidences — apart this one — but many migrants told us that if the police can't find a plane ticket for your country, they send you somewhere else. But this guy was a though one — he didn't want to go to Marocco, no matter what. So he seriously cut himself with a razor blade all over his body, then swallowed the razor blade. Obviously, Youssef lost "his" plane and was instead taken to the hospital. When he was taken back in via Corelli, knowing that the police would not give up so easily, he took the first occasion — a heavy fight between Kosovars and Macedonians prisoners in the lager — to climb the roof and threaten to throw himself down. He asked to speak with the Algerian consulate and with the TVs. The Algerian consulate was contacted, but they did not give a damn. The TVs, and the journalists, were all there, but they were not allowed to enter the lager. The only witnesses came from a member of the Regional Council — mr. Monguzzi, a Green and a camerade — which was allowed to enter and speak with Youssef.
At the end Youssef was convinced to came down — and Tuesday he was released, not deported but with the obligation of leaving Italy within two weeks — struggle pays, as you can see.
But all this must have shocked the sensible nerves of the police and its political bosses, because when we showed up yesterday, they said initially that we were completely unknown and had no authorization to enter, then — after 20 minutes of heavy "bargaining" — they let us in and even gave us a container for our entreviews... but then they found out that in our group (we were in 4) there was an hatred journalist (sorry, but we are THE OPPOSITION, we told them). That — plus the fact that they kept on saying that we had no authorization to enter the lager — implied an immediate expulsion for the all of us, also because — thanks to the first two entreviews we managed to have — we (and the journalist) came to know in all details what I wrote above
This expulsion has many meanings: first, the migrants that coul petition against their illegal detention could not do it (since we are the only ones filing these petitions and bringing them to the judge), therefore the only basic right allowed to the migrants has been violated. Second, all non-conforming press (and even the conforming one) is excluded from the lager — a clear violation of the right to information by the citizens. Third: via Corelli is a chaos, not only for what's happening inside, but also because there are no clear directives even to the police, nobody likes to assume responsabilities for it, and therefore it's quite likely that the police holds a completely schizofrenic behaviour with the migrants, a behaviour they don't like to show. There's more... but I'll leave it for the next time.
It's obvious that if they think to keep us out by babbling excuses — or even worse, with violence -- they make a big mistake. As long as the lagers exist — in Europe, in Milan, all over — they will never get rid of us. But the lagers are only an expression of the wild exploitation of cheap labour force promoted by neoliberism (sort of "dumps" for out-of-date human merchandise), so the real struggle is against the "New World Order" promoted by transnational bodies, multinational corporations and so called "left" governments and "right" governments alike. And this struggle we'll never quit - hasta la victoria.
A group of White Coveralls occupied the HQ of the "National Committee for Biosafety", hanging banners against GMOs and WTO. The action was promoted by Social Centers and grassroot unions.