The rejection of the war economy is the common thread that joins together the protests against the construction of a new military base for Carabinieri special forces units in Pisa and those against installing a NATO command at the Predieri barracks in Rovezzano, Florence. After a public assembly earlier this week organized by the “No NATO command, in Florence or elsewhere” committee, there was a first demonstration on Sunday evening in Rovezzano against the expansion of the military base, which envisions the establishment of the headquarters of the southern command of the Atlantic alliance in the small town on the eastern outskirts of Florence.
The procession marched through the streets of Rovezzano, with the route illuminated by the paper lanterns made for the traditional town festival in early September, ending at Pazzagli Park. “This is the first public initiative after the leaflet campaign in August,” the demonstrators said, “combining our grassroots and popular traditions with the need to give space in our neighborhoods and among the people to the demand for a demilitarized life, outside the logic of war that is increasingly polluting our daily existence.”
There was unrest in Pisa as well, after the meeting of the inter-institutional committee on the military base of the Carabinieri gave the green light to a different plan from the initial one. The current plan is no longer concentrated in the hamlet of Coltano and is set to be located within the San Rossore natural park, but with a deployment of interventions both inside and outside the protected nature area, including the use of the CISAM joint force center in San Piero a Grado and some operational areas in Pontedera for the First Carabinieri Parachute Regiment Tuscany and the Carabinieri’s anti-terrorism Special Intervention Group (GIS).
“The minutes of the meeting in Rome make it clear that everything has already been decided or nearly so,” noted City Councilor Ciccio Auletta, leader of the Diritti in Comune (Rights in Common) group (made up of Unione Popolare and Una Città in Comune). “The agreement signed by the Region of Tuscany, the Municipality and Province of Pisa and the San Rossore Park also makes it clear that the big announcement about the rehabilitation of disused buildings in Coltano clashes with a very different reality: those facilities supposedly intended for ‘museum and educational purposes’ will not be managed by civilian entities but by the Carabinieri Corps itself. At the same time, the so-called ‘restoration of CISAM’ hides the fact that we are looking at a greater military occupation of the park, in an area that should be renaturalized instead.”
On the basis of the acts signed by the local authorities and by the president of the protected natural area, Lorenzo Bani, the “No military bases, in Coltano or elsewhere” movement deems the agreement as yet another step towards a war economy. To protest this move, a public assembly is being organized for Thursday (5:30 p.m.) in San Michele degli Scalzi, and, as of now, support is being gathered for the “Stop the Escalation” demonstration on October 21.
Finally, both the Pisan Alternative Left and the regional M5S stressed that the funding originally allocated for the base, at €190 million, is no longer available: “The minutes explicitly state that expenses are yet to be quantified, and the channel from which one would find the necessary resources is yet to be identified,” stressed Auletta. “As Meloni cuts funds to deal with blameless arrears,” added Irena Galletti (M5S), “some Tuscany officials are throwing themselves into a project that we’ve been wondering to this day whether it has any financial basis to begin with. We’d like to know where the money will come from, since the money from the previous project has been lost and other funding will have to be found.”
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