In the bunker courtroom of the prison of Lecce in the morning of Friday, January 15, the prosecutor submitted requests for sentencing 90 No TAP accused, on trial for a number of episodes of struggle which took place between 2017 and 2018. The charges range from violence and resistance against public officials to breaching expulsion orders from Lecce and Melendugno, where the struggle against the gas multinational was most intense. In the first instance trial the sentences requested ranged from a minimum of 2 months to a maximum of 2 years and 3 months.
During the hearing a comrade made a declaration concerning the charges against her, here is the text:
In this trial I am accused of having repeatedly breached an order prohibiting me from being present in the territory of Lecce and Melendugno. Some policemen, in the role of witnesses, stated that I would have deliberately and in contempt of their job of observation, neglected to hide or change my appearance. The many photographs that portray me confirm this observation. In fact I always took part in the demonstrations and the various protests without caring about the prohibition and without concealing myself. And I often spoke out, as did many others, to repeat the reasons for those mobilizations, which have involved a great number of people over two years.
I hope the gentlemen of the police station won’t mind, but I’d say the reasons that led me to the prohibited areas, risking the charges made against me here, were quite other than contempt for the digos of Lecce. I won’t expose these reasons in all their length and breadth, also because I think that a courtroom is the least suitable place for such a purpose. Suffice it to say that it is not by chance that the reasons I am referring to are all in the missing link of the statements given by the police here in the role of witnesses, statements that sketch a rather simplified, flat, let’s say bi-dimensional scenario where the police are facing a group of rioters against a backdrop of yards, gates, country roads, olive orchards. Instead, my reasons are all in the third dimension, that of the background. These are places that have suffered the indelible scar of an aberrant operation, the TAP gas pipeline. An operation imposed from above and always rejected by the inhabitants because it upturns delicate ecosystems, puts human health at risk, upsets the local economy. Ultimately, that work represents the voracity of transnational capital to which local communities are being forced to succumb. The impressive mobilization of men in uniform in defence of the TAP Consortium and against the opponents of the works showed everyone the State’s subjugation to those superior reasons. The militarization of a vast territory and the suspension of freedom of movement within it in contempt of the population, these yes, are only some of the reasons that convinced me to take part rather than desist, to go to the prohibited areas instead of complying with the prohibitions imposed on me. I thus decided to respond to my own personal ethical imperative, ignore the injunction of authority and be present in the prohibited places.
If anything, my only regret is effectively not having done enough.