The point of tensions since last year has been the place where the first tunnel is planned to be dug: la Maddalena. The area has been occupied by NOTAV people (legally as the land belongs to one NOTAV supporter) who built houses and organized lots of events. On the other part of the valley a huge military camp has been set up where cops and soldiers stay locked in their well protected fort. Mainstream media call the military camp the “building site” despite the fact that it is not actually were the tunnel is planned to be built. This fort replaced the Free Republic of Maddalena created by NOTAV and evacuated after strong clashes in july 2011 ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yZ-V8YUccow&feature=related and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOudhpcT5eA&feature=related) . Since the 1st of January 2012, the Maddalena has been officially designated a ‘strategic zone’ (a parting gift from Berlusconi), meaning that anybody can be arrested just for being there and that cops are even more free to do whatever they want.. However this hasn’t prevented NOTAV from continuing their protest site.
The intent of police is of course to enlarge their fort and since the begining of the year, the valley is in a state of high tension. On the 26th of January 26 people were arrested and another served with court papers in an operation targeting people from all over Italy and even from France.
Lots of support has been shown all around Italy and in Paris. A united demonstration was organized for the 25th of February. On Saturday 25th between 70.000 and 75.000 people gathered to ask the liberation of NOTAV activists, not in the center of a big city, but in the streets of Bussoleno, a town in the Susa valley with 7.000 inhabitants. In the evening, whilst demonstrators from Milano were waiting in the Torino rail station to come back home, cops charged at them on the platform, forcing people to enter a train, before throwing tear gas inside ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaqVr1TRY30). Of course mainstream media put the blame on NOTAV activists claiming that they tried to block the station.
On the 27th of February, 2 days ago, the NOTAV camp was evacuated by cops in order to enlarge the “non-building site” and to begin the work. There were few activists present, one of them managed to avoid police controls and climbed up on an electrical pole. One policeman chased him and therefore forced the man to climb higher and higher where he received an electrical shock and fell down. He is now hospitalized, still alive but in a coma.
Protests were organized immediately. On the same afternoon rail stations and routes in the area of Torino were blocked. On the motorway NOTAV activists build barricades and set up some little camps. The blockade lasted for almost 48 hours on the most important axis between France and Italy. Yesterday night police savagely evacuated the motorway by attacking demonstrators who were very dangerously sitting on the road. We count lots of injured and hospitalized people as well as some arrests (no more details for now). Police charged at NOTAV demonstrators all down the roads and looked for them in bars and cafeterias, smashing some windows ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nx0eJavzjHE). Moreover the cars of NOTAV activists are burning mysteriously these last few days in the Susa valley.
This is a long term protest carried on by local people and with more and more support nationally and internationally. It brings together families with children, activists from many political tendencies, even catholic groups and elected representatives etcetera. The NOTAV people have never fallen into the trap built by the mainstream media around the labels of violence or not violence, but have always been able to create a beautiful and strong resistance against those who stand to gain financially from the train project, with their slaves the Italian politicians (uncommonly united on this issue), and with the slaves of the slaves, cops and mainstream journalists.
Today the motto was to blockade everything everywhere: Currently there are protests in Trento, Pisa, Torino, Napoli, Genova, Susa Valley, Parlermo, Salerno, Brescia, Milano, Roma and probably plenty of other places.
Italy is showing its support to the NOTAV struggle: NOTAV Fermarci è impossibile (It is impossible to stop us)