Begining of the Trial
The first hearing of the trial of the 4 italian comrades, concerning the no expo case, took place in the 20th of April in the courts of Milan. During the hearing , it was decided , that there would be a summary process, which means that neither the public prosecutors, nor the defendant’s lawyers would be able to bring new evidence to the court. During the hearing, the bank Unicredit,
demanded compensation of 870.000 euros for the damages that two of their branches have suffered. The Italian Ministry of Internal affairs made, as well, a compensation claim of 300.000 euros for the damage done to the international reputation of the Italian government due to the clashes that took place during the no-expo demonstration; they also made an additional claim of 8.000 euros in order to cover the expenses of the officers of the italian investigation police department, who had to work overtime in order to process and analyze the huge amount of evidence from the clashes that took place the day of the no expo demonstration (1st of May).
The local authorities of Milan, didn’t make any compensation claim. As a matter of fact none of them attended the hearing (an absence that didn’t go unnoticed but the opposition), but they stated that they will be present in the next hearing. It is worth mentioning that the italian minister of Internal affairs cited that the Digos (an italian special police force trained specifically to control and suppress public demonstrations and protests), in fact allowed the clashes and damages in the center of Milan to happen, in order to avoid a worse case scenario. What is missing from this statement is that the plan of the police at the day of the clashes was to confine the protestors to a specific area in the heart of Milan and prevent them from reaching the location where the EXPO was taking place. In other words, the government’s top priority was to protect the multinational companies exhibition and keep it unaffected an unblemished from the demonstration.
It should be noted that two out of the four in total arrested comrades are in house arrest, whereas the other two, who were imprisoned on the 12th of November 2015 at the San Vittore prisons in Milan, have been held there until now. T he charges that the four comrades are facing are the following: concealment of facial features, resistance to authority, and destruction and pillaging of private property. The last charge is based on the article 419 of the “Rocco” penal code, which is named after the fascist minister that drafted it during Italy’s fascist period. According to said article, the sentence for this particular offence is between 8 to 15 years of imprisonment. Here, in Greece, there is no equivalent legislation. The only offences included in the greek penal code that could be considered similar to aforementioned art. 419, are “resistance against the authorities” and property damage, both of which are of lesser penal importance.
The next hearing will be held on the 5th of May and the last one on the 9th of June where the final decision is likely to be announced.
Solidarity demonstrations in Athens and Patras
A demonstration of solidarty took place on the 26th of April outside the italian embassy in the center of Athens, right before the hearings of the 4 comrades in Italy ( on 20/4 and 3/5 respectively). The demonstration was quite conspicuous to the passing cars and pedestrians, and counted about 60 solidaires who handed out flyers. The italian embassy, located at the junction of V.Sofias street and Sekeri street was surrounded by a rather large number of police force groups and 6 riot police wagons.
Another solidarity demonstration for the 4 italian comrades who are on trial for the no-expo demonstration on the 1st of May, took place outside the italian consulate on Tuesday 19th of April. The demonstration was organised by the “assembly of solidarity for the 5 comrades, against state repression”.