milano: violence in the valley

Posted on December 11, 2005

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125004-226971-thumbnail.jpgby peter gillies

Hot on the heels of the US Secretary of State, Condaleeza Rice, telling the people of Europe that we should do what we are told, or else – we have another example of state violence in Italy. Last night, in the Val di Susa, the demonstrations by the local people against the High Speed Train (TAV) project erupted into a bloody clash with the police resulting in at least 6 injuries.

Now, you may already know that the Val di Susa (or Susa Valley in English) is the main area for the Winter Olympics this year. The fear of frightening tourists away from the area might be the major reason for the police being instructed to act in the way that they did. Or it might just simply be an over aggressive response to a direct political instruction – remembering what happened in Genova during the G8 summit. Whatever the cause, there can be no excuse, surely, for police attacking unarmed people in the way that they did though?

The protests in the Val di Susa are certainly legitimate and it would be very hard to try and identify the protesters as “communist troublemakers”, as has been attempted in some political circles. Virtually every regional mayor (Sindaco) is represented in the protesting group, so it is surely a group that represents the majority view of the local inhabitants. By trying to ignore the protest completely despite real concerns regarding safety issues locally, the authorities have shown themselves to be simple bullies. By initiating a violent action against the protesters, they have shown themselves to be much, much worse. They have succeeded by this action in drawing even larger groups of people into the cause of the local inhabitants now, making a much larger problem for themselves which no amount of further violence will resolve.

One would have thought that the problems of the Middle East would support the idea that violence breeds yet more violence. But then again, my daddy is bigger than your daddy. Innit.

Posted in: milano, politics