Archive for November 10th, 2011

Roman celebrations

November 10, 2011 in Uncategorized | Comments (0)

 

 

On Wednesday night celebrations broke out as a blizzard of text messages blew through Rome’s restaurants announcing Silvio Berlusconi’s imminent departure.

 

 

 

But the celebrations were premature – at the epicentre of Italian politics there was a strange emptiness and quiet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chamber of Deputies, Piazza Monte Citorio, Rome, Nov 9, 11 pm.

 

 

 

But this morning I came upon a very unusual demonstration

 

 

 

in the Piazza of the Five Moons.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The demonstrators were policemen from the Anti-Mafia Squad, (Direzione Investigazione Anti-Mafia or DIA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This famous unit was founded by Giovanni Falcone, the anti-Mafia crusader who was assassinated in 1992. The unit has had many notable successes in recent years.

Fabio Falcone

 

who is no relation of Giovanni Falcone (‘except for a relationship of ideas’ as he said), is the current Regional Secretary of Police Trade Unions. He explained the reasons for the demonstration: the DIA has fallen victim to budget-cutting. Its funds have been so drastically reduced that it will not be able to function properly. What is more the cuts were effected in a secretive fashion, the provisions being smuggled into an unrelated bill.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Without money the anti-Mafia unit will die, he said. And it makes no sense, even from a financial point of view, because the DIA annually confiscates billions of Euros in black money. They make back their expenses many times over and are very productive for the state.

The members of the unit (who do not look like the kind of people you would want to get on the wrong side of) feel that they have no option now but to demonstrate.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But the union’s demands are not all about funds. Fabio Falcone insisted that they were there also because they felt that the way the cuts were effected was an affront to democracy and transparency. ‘We are here for democracy’ he said.

 

It was interesting to hear echoes of these words in another protest, close by, staged by actors, theatre workers, writers and intellectuals.

 

 

 

But that will have to wait for another post….



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