On June 27h police forces have cleared the No-Tav camp at ‘la Maddalena’, near Chiomonte, in Susa Valley. The camp had been setup by citizens and anti-Tav movements to prevent the installation of a building site similar to the one that caused the ‘Free Republic of Venaus’ facts ( https://we.riseup.net/strugglesinitaly/free-republic-of-venaus ). Police intervention has been very hard, with large use of CS gas, substance which has been prohibited by international conventions and subscribed by Italian governament, even in war settings. In reaction to that intervention, the No-Tav movement called to a big protest on July 3rd. The protest was articulated in three processions, starting from different locations and heading to reach the site’s fences in different points. An estimated 50000 people came from everywhere in Italy to join the protests.
The information about what the processions were actually supposed to do was not very clear, so expectations varied a lot, but the majority of protester hoped to have the same success they did on a previous action back in December 8th 2005. Unfortunately the conditions were very different, because of ground’s morphology as well as sterner intentions by police forces.
Two of the three processions were attacked with CS gas as soon as they got near the fences, many people reported that policemen often shot directly to them instead of up in the air ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K1IBGjx5Y8E ): among them Carlo Gubitosa, a reporter who was covering the event for AlJazeera, who was hit by a tear gas shell ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3TNb0mxshQ ) (interview in italian). People in the procession starting up from Giaglione also reported of policemen throwing rocks from above while they were passing under a highway bridge (the highway had been closed since the early morning). Only the procession including the Majors of many Susa Valley towns and a few celebrities, like Euro-MP and philosopher Gianni Vattimo or comic actor Beppe Grillo, was initially saved, but when some protesters (about 10 persons) succeeded in getting into the restricted area, policemen started shooting on that procession as well. In reaction to the gas attack, people started throwing rocks against the police, but no great damage was produced by this form of defence, due to the logistic situation. In fact 115 out of 118 policemen who seeked medical help at Hospital Emergency rooms were classified as ‘white codes’ (very light injuries). Heat was actually their main cause of disconfort. Among protesters, similar numbers of injuries were reported: their conditions were more serious though, as shown in this video about one of them (Fabiano Di Berardino): [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okrTnRL77O0].
Around 5.00 pm protesters raised the siege and returned to their homes leaving policemen in their fortress in la Maddalena. By the end of summer the construction site has not been set up yet, and the area where excavation is supposed to begin is still outside the fences.