Since No-Tav activist Luca Abbà was injured on February 27, protests in the Susa Valley have escalated, reaching a new heights. Soon after Luca’s fall from a high-tension pole, the highway was suddenly blocked by No-TAV protesters. More solidarity rallies have since taken place in over 60 other Italian cities.
During the night between February 28 and 29 2012, police violently cleared the protesters’ highway blockade, which until then had managed to resist, by using water cannons, CS tear gas and a bulldozer in order to remove the barricades.
According to the “No-Tavs”, there were at least 100 injured, and one person was arrested. Among the injured are Nicoletta Dosio and Alberto Perino, two historic No-Tav leaders, both over 65 years old. Perino reported an elbow fracture, but also declared that he was literally saved by a carabiniere who sheltered him with his own body, thus protecting Perino from the aggression of other policemen. Many No-Tav activists had their cars burnt or vandalized, and some witnessed some policemen trying to stop others from doing so. Eyewitnesses also spoke of tear gas being launched, even inside homes, and of policemen bursting into bars and restaurants and violently pushing away journalists (as this video shows).
Violence on the part of police has clearly been escalating: meanwhile, the most important Italian mainstream media have followed and hit the No-Tav movement with unprecedented strength. Almost every television station and every major newspaper has attacked the movement, employing the labels of “terrorism”, violence, and illegality. Monti’s “technical” government has officially declared that the High-Speed Rail must be built and that work on the project will continue. His stance has been met with full agreement and support from political forces on both sides of the spectrum, from the Democratic Party (center-left) as much as the Northern League (a far right party that has often voiced anti-European Union sentiments).
During the night of February 29, the No Tav assembly met in Bussoleno and called for a new protest, spread all around Italy for the following day. On March 1, 2012, the protest has started again in dozens of large and small Italian cities, leading to highway blockades and occupations of railway
stations. The no-tav movement has also received the support of a group of hackers, who have attacked some institutional websites in the Piedmont region.