yossarian | 31.05.2003 18:10
An delegation from Ya Basta! in Italy is travelling to Baghdad and Palestine to make contacts with civil society groups there. They have been harassed and turned back from Iraq by American military units at border checkpoints, their cameras seized and videotapes destroyed.
09.30 - "Right now after approximately an hour of waiting we are passing through the checkpoint on the Jordanian frontier. In an hour we will reach the American border controls in order to enter Iraq ". Vilma Mace, YaBasta association.
10.30 - "We are in front of the American checkpoint on the Iraqi border. A single vehicle succeeded in going ahead, they said that if we have no "business" in Iraq it would be very difficult to cross the frontier. We explained that we are going to verify the job that our compatriots are making in terms of solidarity, and now the communal city council member Beppe Caccia is speaking with an Americans officer explaining the motivations of our travel ". Vilma Mace, YaBasta association.
11.10 - "We are in a jeep with seven people, we are supposed to stop at the American border traffic control post before entering Iraq. We have been first people that they have stopped, after several negotiations they took our passports, wrote down all the numbers, searched our baggage and asked very insistently why we were going to Iraq. Now they have informed us that they will escort to us with armoured personnel carriers to the Jordanian frontier ". Beatrice Barzaghi, Global Radio.
11.15 - "In this moment practically to force, in the sense that they have forced to us to turn around, the American soldier have made us to turn around and head back towards Amman: in particular the eighth vehicle, the one farthest from us, are escorting it with a blindatino [?] in order to quickly approach the group. They have told us that we cannot stop to phone the American embassy and the Italian government informing them what it was happening ". Vilma Mace, YaBasta association.
12.00 - "We are trying to contact the Italian ambassador in Amman to pass a list of all the caravan participants so that we will be allowed to pass. Some TVGlobal activists who were filming our detention at the checkpoint have had their video cameras seized and the tapes were destroyed." Giovanna Gasparello, Global Radio.
12.30 - From the no-man's-land between Jordan and Iraq, Giovanna Gasparello of Global Radio interviewed Luca "Zulù" and Papa J of the musical group AlMukavama, about the caravan's progress.
14.30 - The activists are still blocked in no-man's-land waiting for a permit in order to travel to Baghdad. (From the transcript of an interview with Cristiano Gasparelli)
15:46 - The Italian embassy says to wait for the permit. Tutto quindi viene ritardato a domani. [Therefore we will be delayed until tomorrow?]
16.15 - "Some Arabic al-Jazeera and other journalists have arrived, and have been informed of the serious things that have occurred and that we have been prevented for at least six hours by the American authorities from entering Iraqi territory. We have explained that American soldiers have forced us back to Jordan without any participation on the part of the Italian government in spite of the demand for many deputies[?official witnesses?] ". Vilma Mace, YaBasta association.