“death trains” in Italy
Over the course of the last week, a national mobilization against American military trains traveling through Italy has taken place. The week started last Friday, February 21 when a small group of disobedience took to the station of Monselice to stop an American military train transporting war goods from base Ederle in Vicenza to Camp Derby in Pisa.
The "train of the death" as it was called, was forced to stop its journey in front of the station of Monselice. Blocked by protestors and bonfires for over two hours, it finally resumed its journey - but in the opposite direction, returning through Padova and Vicenza, from where is had first departed. Hundreds of people in a disobedient action succeeded in blockading the train loaded with war materials. But it did not stop there: The next day another train was scheduled leave from the American base Ederle.
Protesters soon learned that there were a total of 24 trains scheduled to make the journey in the coming days. On Saturday, the 22nd, nearly spontaneous protests fermented all throughout Italy. All along the proposed routes, in nearly every station, blockades were set up, walls were painted, banners were hung and flags from a wide range of groups were seen: In fact, train stopping soon became a national focusing point for the anti-war population. Pacifists, ecologists, communists, socialists, disobedient, even parliamentary delegates began attending train stopping actions throughout Italy. Groups of train watchers also formed, sending real time reports to Global Radio which conducted and informed all those involved from the broadcasting station in Padova.
Along with a flux in the number of protesters, an wave of police repression came down along all the railways and on several occasions protesters were beaten and drug from the paths of these death trains.
By day three, the situation only seemed to be gaining momentum. People began pulling the emergency brakes on trains running along the route in an effort to stop or hinder the shipments, "Because," as one person commented, "death trains must be stopped, as war is a danger to all of us." Likewise, Train stopping transformed into Plane stopping in Pisa, where in the afternoon a group of disobedient from Rome, Pisa and Naples occupied in two groups the military airport, intruded on the path and positions of the planes in such manner to hinder the normal operations of the airport. And if that wasn't enough, reports of disobedient occupations of the offices of Trenitalia were reported from Pisa, Torino, Milano, Padova, Palermo, and a handful of other locations.
While the forces of order tried to contain this anti-war outbreak, government representatives defended it, saying, for example ""Who is the criminal? People respecting Italian constitution art. 11 or the government allowing those death cargo traveling through Italy on civilian routes protected by the army and police?" referring to article 11 which states that "Italy shall repudiate war as an instrument of offence against the liberty of other peoples and as a means for settling international disputes." Another representative was quoted as saying, ".the political parties are on the rail too. All death cargos must be blocked."
Wednesday the 26th undoubtedly proved to be the most active day yet for the protesters. The day started off with carabinieri finding pisan activists chained down to railroad tracks in the morning and were forced to hack through the chains with industrial bolt cutters. With the arrival of several parliamentary members at base Ederle, a civil inspection was organized giving the public their first bits of non-governmental information about the base activities in years. With this first glimpse inside the activities of the American operations in Italy, 20 year old public rumours of the storage of nuclear weapons inside the base were finally confirmed. A call for further civil inspections were made through the country met with government scepticism. Luca Casarini, a prominent activist in the dissobedienti movement commented, "We are for global disarmament, and if its worth it for the iraq, it is also worth it for the United States who occupy our territory." Interrupted from the applauses, he continues: ".we will see when the parliamentary delegation leaves to negotiate, if they have the right to enter, we will see if they will say no, and what will the Italian government do when they answer no to the inspection? Will they make trains of arms to bomb the Americans at Ederle or Camp Derby? Because what is good for one should be good for all."
Wednesday evening proved to be no less exciting: At around 9:00 pm, a nearly 3 kilometer long caravan of trucks, tanks and military arms was stalled in route on the italian highway as they were attempting to transport these good for loading at the Verona station. Activists could be heard on Global Radio, live, running and shouting and attempting to blockade further movements of the auto caravan and at the entrance to the loading port. Flags of peace were draped over American military trucks and met with bewildered looks from the soldiers. The carabinieri, however, weren't so shocked. A first person report breifly desribes the events: "Half hour ago two trucks arrived. We wanted to hinder its entrance to the goods port,and we sat ourselves on the ground offering passive resistance, but they moved us. After we entered, we were about thirty in all, we sat ourselves in the enterence because knew that more trucks would still arrive". The veronan activists were all stopped, detained and loaded into a police van. It seems that also Mario Tosi, regional secretary of Rifondazione Communist party, was also detained.
An all night vigil held on the part of a few trainwatchers and by Global Radio ultimately culminated in an 8:30 am manifestation at the station of Pisa, where a last effort was made to stop the delivery of this arms shipment. Although the activists were ultimately unsuccessful in totally stopping the delivery, further stratagies for putting a stop to italian complicity to war were made.
Thursday civil pressure continued, taking on a distinctly international air. In London, an informative protest at the italian embassy was held, in solidarity with the Trainstopping movement. On the border between germany and northern italy, further obstruction of military transports were made, in some cases completely stopping the flow of traffic.
Back in italy, the union of shipyard workers in Livorno announced that they would refuse to load the warships headed for Turkey with the war train cargo. In Novara, 3000 high school and university students demonstrated against global war. During the demo, two disobedience actions took place, the first one at the armed bank BNL and the second at the railway station. Here the students occupied the clients room to demand explanation on Trenitalia policies.
Now, on the last day of Feburary 2003, actions continue to take place throughout italy. We have just learned that further occupations of military posts hare underway in Napoli Catania and Rome. And with 20 trains of death remaining, this buisness of Trainstopping is far from being over.
From: enrica sarto Circulated on anarchist listserves. 28 Feb 2003
GlobalRadio disobedient satellite frequencies intercepted during its 20 hours live broadcast the train carrying weapons and other war supplies to Camp Derby. Other 27 trains are supposed to be leaving in the next few days.
The radio gave voice to "embargo actions" coming from below, from people who blocked, stooped, slowed down this train journey, which took 12 hours to reach Tuscany.
During the 20 hours we are talking about, hundreds of women and men got together inside railway stations in order to make the no to global war, shouted February 15 from squares all over the world, a real jamming the hellish war machine action.
In some of the stations, where the train was to pass by, the legitimate determined peaceful protests to block the death train met police clubs that violently attacked the activists.
From Friday evening on, the "sieged" train journey from Southern european US army task force "Caserma Ederle" in Vicenza, to Camp Derby in Pisa was hindered by hundreds of people actions everywhere in Northen Italy.
Friday the first block started in Grisignano di Zocco (VI), it was then in Padova and finally in Monselice where the train was stopped and it was forced to go back to Grisignano and to follow a different route.
At 4.30 a.m. in Pisa San Rossore a new block slowed the train down. From Saturday morning, new blocks started in Grisignano di Zocco (VI), activists occupying the rails were moved away and all identified by police. In Verona, at the little suburbian S. Martino Buonalbergo station, police used clubs to remove activists, who managed to stop the train for 40 minutes, from the railways. Since the train route was unknown many blocks immediately started.
From 12 on 300 activists blocked the railway in Bologna Corticella, they then run to Pisa, where a demo took place as well. At this point the train moved to Parma Fornovo. At least 100 activists sat on the rails. The train could pass only after police violently attacked protestors. In the afternoon in Pisa, 800 people marched while activists reached the city from Bologna Corticella.
At 8.00 p.m. disobedients, pacifists, activists against the war were in Migliarino Pisano railway station, where police attacked disobedients in order to avoid their entry in the station hall. At 10.30 p.m.the train passed Migliarino Pisano station, where protestors were pushed out of the station by police. ...as the train move, people move as well to stop them!
STOP THAT TRAIN people's embargo to death trains!
This report doesn't explain it, but the reason why activists know the routes and timetable of the "military" trains is that railway workers are leaking the relevant info to the movement!
streaming at www.globalradio.it satellite Hot Bird - frequencies
11199,66 Mhz - Polarization vertical - Symbolrate 27500 - GoldBox
Anti-war protesters are vowing to block all movement of US arms by rail between American bases in Italy, dubbing the convoys "trains of death".
Demonstrators have squatted on railway tracks and organisers are planning a full-scale assault on similar convoys this week.
Italy's Defence Ministry has given the US clearance to use military bases and ports in line with NATO commitments.
Local polls show 70 per cent of Italians oppose war even if sanctioned by the United Nations.
The Italian labour union representing almost 90 per cent of dock workers says it will boycott the loading and unloading of all shipments of US arms
Refusing to kill