At a time described by Western mainstream media as the era of defense of the European way of life and its freedom, people can be sued for injuries and receive a deportation order just for holding a protest banner.
That happened Wednesday in Rome to three pacifists from the No War network, after the Trump presidential motorcade passed by on Via Nazionale toward the Quirinale palace.
Marinella Correggia, a contributor and translator for the monthly newsmagazine Le Monde Diplomatique, Maria Cristina Guidetti and Marco Palombo tried to display a sign that read “Trump/NATO/G7: Wars on people, war against the planet” a few meters from the sidewalk.
In a video shot on location, the policemen — who had not cordoned off the street — can be seen detaining them and taking them away, to prevent them from displaying their banner. They tore up the picture of Trump with Saudi King Salman (who has just received from Washington the green light to purchase $110 billion in U.S. weapons).
According to a statement by the Police Force, they were taken to the police station and charges were pressed “for unauthorized demonstration, resistance and injury to an officer.” According to the note, they were attempting to block the presidential motorcade (which, we add, was armored and heavily armed, passing several meters away). An inspector “reported a suspected fracture of a finger phalanx.”
Correggia, who does not reside in Rome, was given the deportation order for prior offenses (all related to anti-war actions). Everything for a peaceful protest against the policies of Trump. A protest march apparently is not acceptable in this era of decorum and misrepresented safety.
This follows what happened on March 25, when the capital was the stage for celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome. In that case, 30 people received deportation orders, while 122 other protesters on their way to Rome from northern Italy were blocked “pre-emptively” on the highway by police and were taken to Cie Tor Cervara for identification.
“Pre-emptive war” against banners, the plastic manifestation of dissent. That was the path chosen by others: On Tuesday, a yellow banner that simply read “No Trump, No War,” was rolled out in Castel Sant’Angelo.
A few hours later in the evening, Greenpeace — which reached via della Conciliazione without problems — projected onto the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, shining green laser beams from a crane, its mocking version of the slogan with which Trump won the election: “Planet Earth First!”
It was a clear reference to one of the battles waged by the tycoon in the first 100 days in office, not only on Iran and migrants, but also the climate. The message was an assist, I wonder, to the words that Pope Francis presented to Trump on Wednesday with the encyclical “Laudato si’.”
This courageous gesture was followed by the identification of eight people responsible for the green message. The police force stressed that “in view of the non-dangerous initiative, [our officers] have tolerated and monitored it.”
Then Trump left, indifferent to all protests, both abroad and at home. Maybe he saw those in Brussels, where he landed for a NATO summit: Thousands marched colorful and ironically to say to him that “he is not welcome.”