Rome (Italy) April 12: 30,000 people against austerity policies, siege around Government headquarters, police charges and resistance.

14 / 4 / 2014

Saturday, April 12, about 30,000 people marched through the streets of Rome against the “Plan for housing”  and the reforms of labor market (the so-called “Jobs Act”), proposed by the Italian government recently established, chaired by the Democratic Party leader Matteo Renzi and supported by a “broad agreements” majority in Parliament.

The nationalwide demonstration had been called by the "social movements against austerity and precarity" and was attended mostly by house occupiers and squatters, migrants and young temporary workers, students and activists from the social centers.

The march was preceded in the last week by a new wave of squatting in the Italian capital and an “acampada” at Porta Pia, in front of the headquarters of the Ministry of Infrastructure, responsible for housing policy and author of the recent bill that intends to deny the right of residence and contracts for water, gas and electricity to the occupants of houses.

Faced with the broad participation in the protest, the city center of Rome was militarized with over two thousand policemen of special anti-riot departments, that closed all the side streets of the parade. All incoming coach had been stopped and searched. Two hours before the march, eighty activists of the social centers of Emilia Romagna, were provocatively surrounded by police, who claimed to identify them, near La Sapienza University and released only by the arrival of other protesters.

But any attempt to discourage and restrain deep anger and stubborn determination of the participants failed. It was a very lively march, which has shown in practice its radical opposition to the policies of austerity and misery of the Troika and national governments in Europe, from Frau Merkel to the “young” Renzi. Thousands of people have shouted their resistance to major infrastructure projects: "We want a single 'great work', home and income for all." The demonstration is transited under the windows of the Ministry of Economy, which have been launched against quintals of rotten vegetables. And it continued into the heart of the capital, in Piazza Barberini, a short walk from the American Embassy.

Here in Dolce Vita’s via Veneto, was put in place, as announced, a real siege to the headquarters of the Ministry of Welfare and Labour, responsible for cuts in social services and new measures of precarization. Protected by hundreds of masked activists wearing blue windbreakers (hence the mainstream media have speculated on the definition of "Blue Bloc"), the protesters launched stones, rockets and huge firecrackers against the building of the Ministry and against the armored vehicles of the police which defended it, for over half an hour.

At this point started two heavy police charges against the crowd, by throwing tear gas and with savage beatings against the people. Only the determination of the protesters stopped police attacks, prevented a massacre and allowed the march could proceed compact until its conclusion, again to the acampada of Porta Pia, where there was a final large assembly.

In the police charges twenty protesters were injured and six people were arrested. The Interior Ministry announced an investigation with dozens to be pursued. The movement calls for the immediate release of those arrested and denounced the violence of the police. The day after, mainstream media emphasize the "guerrilla in the heart of Rome," but there are also open controversy about the aggressive behavior of  police forces.

The different movements, collectives and social centers present have strongly raised the spread of the struggles in each territory and in Europe on a transnational scale, for the defense and the re-appropriation of commons and a basic income, for the conquest of new social and citizenship rights for all, from European days of action in May to the mobilization against the summit on youth unemployment of European Union leaders in Turin next July 10 to 11.


12.04.14 - In diret from Rome

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