Freedom News

Milan crackdown threatens Torricelli St anarchist squat after 40 years

Supporters of Milan’s longest-running squatted social centre remain on high alert after a threatened eviction order slated for November 24th  by the centre-left city administration failed to materialise.

In a statement on Thursday 24th Grupo Anarchico Bruzzi-Malatesta, which is linked to the squat at 19 Torricelli St, wrote*: “From the tone of the eviction order we feared that we really had reached the final phase, so we were on a higher alert and a special mobilisation with the constitution of a committee of defence. On the day a service was put on to give the defenders breakfast, and as the day went on around 80 comrades filled the building in solidarity, including many anarchists.

“To our relief though, possibly because of the organised defence and mobilisation, we got the news that the eviction had again been postponed for another three months. Only after that did people start to filter away.

“The City is pursuing its case against a historic “anarchist” community centre that has been present for 40 years with numerous partner initiatives. It is a site of social emancipation providing books, newspapers and historical documents for free, with artworks on the walls which constitute an important cultural heritage. Maybe these are its sins?”

The Torricelli Street squat, which is two doors down from the Milan HQ of anarcho-syndicalist union USI-AIT (picture above flying a solidarity banner), has been threatened with the bailiffs as part of a crackdown against the squatted spaces in the city initiated by Roberto Maroni, president of the Lombardi region, in 2014.

Maroni, a member of the far-right Northern League, has pledged to evict more than 200 occupied houses across the region sparking ongoing clashes with the community, with Torino squatters pledging “for every eviction, 10, 100, 1,000 occupations!”

Number 19 was first occupied in 1976 when the entire building, which at the time belonged to an estate agent who had left it to decay, was taken over to provide a self-managed space and solidarity centre for the radical left. It was subsequently sold to the City for a nominal fee by the soundly defeated landlord.

*Disclaimer: These quotes were edited from a machine translation, inaccuracies may arise — let us know if you spot any.

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