Unfortunately, Italy has a long history of repressive operations against anarchists.
Since Operation Marini in 90s, the waves of repression against comrades, which brought into jail many people with charges of terrorism or criminal association, were countless. Just to name a few of the biggest repressive operations: Cervantes, Croce Nera, Ardire, Mangiafuoco, Thor, Ixodidae, Nottetempo, Fuoriluogo… These operations usually lead to several house raids in all Italy and to the arrest of several comrades who spend 1 or 2 years in pre-trial detention. Then they face trials with charges of ‘association’ and usually they are also accused of several direct actions for which the inquisitors never found any responsible. Sometime the public engagement of these comrades in the anarchist struggle and their open expression of anarchist ideas (direct actions support, prisoners solidarity, running an anarchist magazine or website and so on) is the only evidence that the prosecutors bring into the court. For this reason, in the majority of the cases all the accused are later acquitted at the trial, but only after having spent many months or years in prison.
Besides these huge operations, there is a constant small-scale repression against local anarchist groups which are expecially active on the territory, for example with struggles against police repression, evictions, detention centres for migrants, jails, gentrification, corporate interests… In these cases anarchists are constantly repressed with recurring trials and spend much of their time going in and out of prison, house arrest or other restrictions of their freedom. This kind of police strategy of trying to burn out comrades with the aim of destroying the local anarchist group happens in many cities but since many years has been expecially strong in Torino.
Since it is impossible to relate about all the trials and repression going on, with this text we concentrate on three main repressive operations for which so many of our comrades are currently being held in prison: operation Scripta Manent, operation Panico in Firenze and the latest one, operation Scintilla in Torino.
OPERATION SCRIPTA MANENT
Operation Scripta Manent stroke in September 2016 with a series of house raids and arrests in all Italy. 32 comrades were accused of terroristic association and of some specific direct actions; seven of them are transferred to jail.
The investigation refers to a string of attacks claimed by FAI and FAI/FRI, which occurred between 2003 and 2012 against the armed forces (police officers, carabinieri barracks, carabinieri training centres and RIS), statesmen (mayors, a minister of the interior), journalists, firms involved in migrants’ detention centres maintenance and the director of a migrants’ detention centre. The wounding of engineer Adinolfi, executive manager of Ansaldo Nucleare, is also part of the investigation, an event that had already been dealt with in a trial and had been claimed by the Olga Nucleus FAI/FRI, namely Nicola and Alfredo, in prison since 2012 (they are also accused in this trial).
At various levels there’s also the charge of creating and participating in a subversive association (article 270bis), charges related to specific crimes (article 280) and charges of instigation to commit crime and defending crimes (article 414) because of articles, sites, blogs and anarchist editorial projects – among which an Anarchist Black Cross prisoners support group.
After more than two years, six of them are still held in jail in pre-trial detention while one is on house arrest. Because of the terrorist charge, they are held in special high-security wings inside the prisons where they are kept isolated from the rest of the prisoners and they suffer many restrictions on their mail and visits.
The Scripta Manent trial, which began in June 2017, concerns 40 years’ history of the anarchist movement. The linchpin of the accusatory theorem of this inquest is based on the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ anarchists and the repression’s instrumental interpretation of the debate within the anarchist movement. The trial distinguished itself for the use it made of debates within the anarchist movement in an orchestrated game of interpretations and differentiations, which the prosecutor in charge tried to use against the anarchists themselves, as the former is seeking to sentence our comrades and put the last twenty years of the history of anarchism and anarchist solidarity on trial. In fact, all demonstrations of solidarity expressed on websites, pamphlets, journals and posters continue to be added to the court papers.
The first part of the trial is due to end in the early months of 2019, with the first-grade sentence.
OPERATION PANICO (FIRENZE)
On the 1st of January 2017 a home-made bomb exploded in front of a fascist bookshop in Firenze, and a policeman from the bomb disposal unit lost a hand and an eye.
Immediately several houses of anarchist comrades were searched in the city. The police were hoping to find firearms and/or explosives. An investigation against persons unknown was launched with intention to charge someone with the offences of “manufacturing, possession, and transportation of an explosive or incendiary device to a public place” and “attempted murder”.
At the same time the police began a separate operation called “Operazione Panico” (Operation Panic) at the end of January. Several anarchist houses were searched and some comrades arrested. 35 people were directly targeted, suspected for a series of contested events which happened in the city in 2016. They were charged with the offence of “membership of a criminal organisation”. These events include an attack with clubs and bricks on the fascist bookshop, an explosion at the same bookshop and distribution of anti-militarist leaflets at a local market. The operation also lead to the eviction of Villa Panico, one of Florence’s historic squats which had been occupied for the past 10 years.
On the 3rd of August, a joint nation-wide operation between the DIGOS (the police special operations unit), the ROS (the Carabinieri’s special operations unit) and the counter-terrorism police ended up in 8 further arrests: 6 in Florence, 1 in Rome and 1 in Lecce. Five comrades were charged with attempted homicide for the New-eve bombing, the others with the offence of “manufacturing, possession, and transportation of an explosive or incendiary device to a public place”. The second charge relates to a molotov attack against a Carabinieri barracks.
On Augusts 5th, 6 arrested people were released due to lack of evidence against them. One comrade, Ghespe, is still in jail because the authorities claim to have found traces of his DNA on components used to build the bomb. Another comrade, Paska, who should have been released for lack of evidence for the events of New Years eve, is still being held in prison for alleged “membership of a criminal organisation” based on evidence gathered during Operation Panico. A third comrades, Giova, was later arrested and is still in jail. The investigation against persons unknown has therefore been incorporated with Operation Panico.
The trial for Operation Panico started in the summer of 2017 and is still going on. The first degree sentence should be released soon, between march and april 2019.
OPERATION SCINTILLA (TORINO)
On 2019 thursday February 7, early in the morning, hundreds of cops with the help of the fire brigade stormed the Asilo, an anarchist squat in Torino that has been occupied since 1995 and was very active in the organization of social struggles (against evictions, against prisons for migrants, still a few years ago against the TAV…). People climbed on to the roof, where they resisted for over 24 hours. In the end, the cops managed to get everyone out, evict and smash the building.
In addition to evicting the premises, the aim of this repressive operation was to arrest some people accusing them of terroristic association. The 6 arrested comrades (a seventh person is on the run) are accused of 21 attacks against companies and institutions (including the French Embassy and several Post Offices) connected to the detention and expulsion of migrants.
In the following days several solidarity gatherings took place in the neighbourhood and turned into wild demonstrations. Two comrades were arrested during the first one of these demonstrations. Two days later a big march with more than 1.000 people crossed the centre of the Torino, smashing some corporate and urban targets and fighting with the police. Four people were injured and one of them is in bad conditions for being hit by a police van. Unfortunately other 8 comrades were arrested at the end of this march, were beaten by the cops and were charged with “devastazione e saccheggio” (devastation and pillage) which carry up to 15 years of prison. The day after, like almost every day, a solidarity demo was held outside of the prison of Torino where the comrades are imprisoned. Some fireworks were launched and managed to reach the inside of the prison, causing the explosion of some gas tanks which lead to the complete demolition and collapse of a section of the prison (none was injured). Sometimes “Fire to the prisons” is not just a slogan!
On the 13th of February all the comrades arrested during the march and previous demos were released and the heaviest charges were dropped, they are now free but forced to sign every day at the police station. The other comrades arrested with charges of terrorism remain in jail, the male comrades have already been transferred to a high-security prison.
ADDRESSES OF PRISONERS:
C.C. Via Arginone, 327 – 44122 Ferrara, Italy
C.C. San Michele – Strada Casale, 50/A – 15121 Alessandria (AL), Italy
C.C. di Rebibbia – Via Bartolo Longo 92 – 00156 Roma, Italy
c.c. Sollicciano via Minervini 2r 50142 Firenze, Italy
piazza Falcone e Borsellino n. 1, 19125 La Spezia, Italy
C.C. Lorusso e Cutugno via Maria Adelaide Aglietta, 35, 10149 Torino TO – Italy
De Salvatore Giuseppe
C.C. Ferrara, via Arginone 327, 44122 Ferrara – Italy
Casa Circondariale di Udine
Via Paluzza 77
33028 Tolmezzo (UD)
Casa Circondariale di Brescia Canton Mombello
Via Spalto S. Marco 20
25100 Brescia (BS)
Casa Circondariale di Verona Montorio
Via S. Michele 15
37131 Verona (VR)
Casa Circondariale di Udine
Via Paluzza 77
33028 Tolmezzo (UD)
Casa Circondariale di Vicenza
Via Basilio Dalla Scola 150
36100 Vicenza (VI)
Casa di Reclusione Verziano
Via Flero 157
25125 Brescia (BS)
OTHER ANARCHIST PRISONERS
Casa Circondariale di Uta, Strada II Ovest
09010 Uta (Cagliari) – Italy
Contrada Piano Ippolito, 1,
96011 Augusta (Siracusa) – Italy
Francesco “Jimmy” Puglisi
Casa Circondariale Roma Rebibbia – Nuovo Complesso
Via Raffaele Majetti, 70 – 00156 Roma – Italy
Seconda Casa di Reclusione di Milano – Bollate
Via Cristina Belgioioso, 120 – 20157 Milano – Italy