sabato 3 maggio 2014

Police Clash with Demonstrators in TurinPolice Clash with Demonstrators in Turin

Opponents of TAV train challenge PD senator. Tables and chairs thrown in Piazza Vittoria. Pro-Aldovrandi chants directed at police. Three arrests, seven officers injured. Interior minister Alfano calls violence “a disgrace”

May Day tensions ran high in Turin,
where Piazza Vittorio Veneto saw demonstrators clash with police. Metal chairs flew as street cafés were devastated in the midst of smoke bombs and baton charges. For just under an hour, Turin’s biggest square was in the grip of violence. The incidents began at around 9.40 am of yesterday, may 2nd 2014, when No TAV high-speed train protesters and others in the rear section of the march spotted TAV-supporting Democratic Party (PD) senator Stefano Esposito. Many regarded his presence as provocative, partly because the PD group was only a few metres away from the No TAV marchers.

Three arrests, seven officers injured
One man was arrested. He is Marco Bolognino, 46, a familiar face at the squatted social centre in Turin’s Via Alessandria. Mr Bolognino, who has a criminal record, faces charges of violence, resisting a public official and bodily harm for striking a police officer with a pick. The other two people arrested were charged but not detained in custody. They are a 25-year-old woman from Pisa, charged with resisting arrest, and a 48-year-old man accused of assaulting a public official. He is alleged to have thrown a chair taken from a street café. Seven officers were injured and dozens of demonstrators also reported injuries, including a middle-aged man who was struck on the head in Piazza Vittorio.

Unsuccessful fascist attack”
PD senator and TAV supporter Stefano Esposito, who was attacked today [yesterday - Ed.] for taking part in the march, lives under escort and is a noted advocate of the high-speed train. This is the main reason why he is disliked by protesters and other Italians opposed to construction of the Turin-Lyon railway line in Val di Susa. Mr Esposito said: “The usual violent fringe tried to stop me and the PD from taking part in the march. An unsuccessful fascist attack. The PD went onto the streets and will always do so. It’ll take more than a handful of hooligans to stop it. Thanks go to the prefect, chief of police, police officers and the PD’s security service for ensuring the square was safe. I express my solidarity with the injured officers”.

Anti-police chants over Aldovrandi affair
Officers in riot gear took up position between the two factions but tensions continued to rise. There were chants against the PD - “Leave the march, be ashamed, the streets don’t want you, you’re with the bosses” - before demonstrators turned their attention to the police. Their grievance was the episode when members of the SAP police union applauded the officers responsible for the death of Federico Aldovrandi. Hundreds of demonstrators shouted: “You are murderers, be ashamed. You are the rotten apples, leave the march”. The chants were interspersed with rounds of applause, one for Aldovrandi’s mother, Patrizia Moretti, who wrote a message of thanks to some of the demonstrators.

Clashes and flying chairs
The situation deteriorated when a group of protesters under the porticos that feed into the square sought to approach PD activists who were chanting slogans against Turin social centre users. Police attempted to keep the two sides apart but two more large groups elsewhere in the square came into contact with the police. Baton and shield charges followed on all fronts. Various demonstrators threw ashtrays and metal chairs they had looted from Piazza Vittoria’s many street cafés. Police responded with further charges. Smoke bombs were lit and then demonstrators hurriedly dispersed as officers used broken chairs to block the wheels of protesters’ trucks.

Protesters target Chiamparino
At 11.20 am, there were more charges in Via Roma. Marchers were about to reach Piazza San Carlo, where trade unionists and public officials had gathered. The protesters had targeted PD members and Sergio Chiamparino, the Centre-left’s candidate for the regional elections. “You’re like Berlusconi, we’ve already seen Renzi the puppet”, shouted one demonstrator from Askatasuna, the leading Turin social centre for No TAV protesters. Officers charged when marchers were halted by a police cordon and lit smoke bombs in an attempt to pass through. One demonstrator said: “We do not want to disturb the peace and quiet of the PD’s May Day”.

Alfano: “Violence a disgrace”
Interior minister Angelino Alfano commented on the violence. “Any No TAV supporter who goes on a march seeking to cause a disturbance dishonours the May Day holiday”, said Mr Alfano, speaking at a New Centre-right (NCD) event in Brescia.

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