Florian Schneider on Mon, 3 Mar 2003 00:18:42 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> a week of desobedient's action in italy

From: enrica sarto <enrica.sarto@tin.it>
Subject: A week of desobedient's action in Italy

Over the course of the last week, a national mobilization against american
military trains traveling through italy has taken place. The week started
last Friday, Febuary 21 when a small group of desobedients took to the
station of Monselice to stop an american military train transporting war
goods from base Ederle in Vicenza to Camp Derby in Pisa.

The "train of the death" as it was called, was forced to stop its journey
in front of the station of Monselice. Blocked by protestors and bonfires
for over two hours, it finally resumed its journey - but in the opposite
direction, returning through Padova and Vicenza, from where is had first
departed. Hundreds of people in a dissobedient action succeeded in
bloccading the train loaded with war materials. But it did not stop there:
The next day another train was scedualed leave from the american base

Protesters soon learned that there were a total of 24 trains schedualed to
make the journey in the coming days. On saterday, the 22nd, nearly
spontanious protests fermented all throughout italy. All along the
proposed routes, in nearly every station, bloccades were set up, walls
were painted, banners were hung and flags from a wide range of groups were
seen: In fact, trainstopping soon became a national focusing point for the
antiìwar population. Pacifists, ecologists, communists, socialists,
dissobedienti, even parlamentary delegates began attending trainstopping
actions throughout italy. Groups of trainwatchers also formed, sending
realtime reports to Global Radio which conducted and informed all those
involved from the broadcasting station in Padova.

Along with a flux in the number of protesers, an wave of police repression
came down along all the railways and on several occations protesters were
beaten and drug from the paths of these death trains.

By day three, the situation only seemed to be gaining momentum. People
began pulling the emergency brakes on trains running along the route in an
effort to stop or hinder the shipments, “Because,” as one person
commented, “death trains must be stopped, as war is a danger to all of
us.” Likewise, Trainstopping transformed into Planestopping in Pisa, where
in the afternoon a group of disobbedienti from Rome, Pisa and Naples
occupied in two groups the military airport, intruded on the the path and
positions of the planes in such manner to hinder the normal operations of
the airport. And if that wasn’t enough, reports of disobedient occupations
of the offices of Trenitalia were reported from Pisa, Torino, Milano,
Padova, Palermo, and a handful of other locations.

While the forces of order tried to contain this anti-war outbreak,
governemnt representatives defended it, saying, for example “"Who is the
criminal? People respecting Italian constitution art. 11 or the government
allowing those death cargo travelling through Italy on civilian routes
protected by the army and police?" refering to artical 11 which states
that “Italy shall repudiate war as an instrument of offence against the
liberty of other peoples and as a means for settling international
disputes.” Another representative was quoted as saying, "…the political
parties are on the rail too. All death cargos must be blockled."

Wednesday the 26th undoubtably proved to be the most active day yet for
the protesters. The day started off with carabninieri finding pisan
activists chained down to railroad tracks in the morning and were forced
to hack through the chians with industrial bolt cuttters. With the arrival
of several parlmetary members at base Ederle, a civil inspection was
organized giving the public thier first bits of non-governmental
information about the base activities in years. With this first glimps
inside the activities of the american operations in italy, 20 year old
public rumers of the storage of nuclear weapons inside the base were
finally confirmed. A call for further civil inspections were made throught
the country met with government scepticism. Luca Casarini, a prominent
activist in the dissobedienti movement commented, “We are for global
disarment, and if its worth it for the iraq, it is also worth it for the
United States who occupy our territory.” Interrupted from the applauses,
he continues: “…we will see when the parlementary delegation leaves to
negotiate, if they have the right to enter, we will see if they will say
no, and what will the Italian government do when they answer no to the
inspection? Will they make trains of arms to bomb the Americans at Ederle
or Camp Derby? Because what is good for one should be good for all.”

Wednesday evening proved to be no less exciting: At around 9:00 pm, a
nearly 3 kilometer long caravan of trucks, tanks and military arms was
stalled in route on the italian highway as they were attempting to
transport these good for loading at the Verona station. Activists could be
heard on Global Radio, live, running and shouting and attempting to
bloccad further movements of the auto caravan and at the enterence to the
loading port. Flags of peace were drapped over american military trucks
and met with bewildered looks from the soldiers. The carabinieri, however,
weren’t so shocked. A first person report breifly desribes the events:
"Half hour ago two trucks arrived. We wanted to hinder its entrance to the
goods port,and we sat ourselves on the ground offering passive resistance,
but they moved us. After we entered, we were about thirty in all, we sat
ourselves in the enterence because knew that more trucks would still
arrive". The veronan activists were all stopped, detained and loaded into
a police van. It seems that also Mario Tosi, regional secretary of
Rifondazione Communist party, was also detained.

An all night vigil held on the part of a few trainwatchers and by Global
Radio ultimately culminated in an 8:30 am manifestation at the station of
Pisa, where a last effort was made to stop the delivery of this arms
shipment. Although the activists were ultimately unsuccessful in totally
stopping the delivery, further stratagies for putting a stop to italian
complicity to war were made.

Thursday civil pressure continued, taking on a distinctly international
air. In London, an informative protest at the italian embassy was held, in
solidarity with the Trainstopping movement. On the border between germany
and northern italy, further obstruction of military transports were made,
in some cases completely stopping the flow of traffic.

Back in italy, the union of shipyard workers in Livorno announced that
they would refuse to load the warships headed for Turkey with the war
train cargo. In Novara, 3000 high school and university students
demonstrated against global war. During the demo, two disobedience actions
took place, the first one at the armed bank BNL and the second at the
railway station. Here the students occupied the clients room to demand
explanation on Trenitalia policies.

Now, on the last day of Feburary 2003, actions continue to take place
throughout italy. We have just learned that further occupations of
military posts hare underway in Napoli Catania and Rome. And with 20
trains of death remaining, this buisness of Trainstopping is far from
being over.

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