For months now the situation of asylum seekers in San Lorenzo Isontino, near the Italy-Slovenia border, has been shocking. Just like in Pordenone, the city’s centre-right council (with the complicity of the wider Gorizia Prefecture) is leaving hundreds of refugees waiting for the right to asylum to freeze without any kind of assistance.
It’s an unreal situation that the arrival of winter has obviously made even more dramatic: Only the solidarity and bottom-up intervention of individuals and associations has allowed these people to have some blankets and food. A few days ago, a marquee from Doctors Without Borders has been set up on the ground of the curia, but it is a temporary buffer to a situation that needs many other answers.
To denounce this situation (aggravated by a climate of racism and/or indifference from a considerable part of the city) and to show solidarity to all those who are forced — for many different reasons — to leave their country, on Saturday December 16th a procession was organised entitled “Let’s remain human. Humanity welcome.”
The initiative was prepared with a series of assemblies in which both members of the anti-racist movement, that of solidarity associations and of the official left took part. A cold but beautiful sunny day welcomed demonstrators coming not only from the regions but also from Slovenia and Croatia. A first group of participants gathered over the border in Slovenia, and then reached the main rally in Gorizia city for a parade. This was in response to a prohibition by police against starting the demonstration in front of the Red Cross pass as a “sensitive point.”
At this point the procession started towards the city center, swelling slowly until it counted around 400 people. Numerous microphone interventions, slogans and a noisy cacerolata marked the various stages of the route, including a stop near the headquarters of far-right group CasaPound, which was protected by a massive police presence in riot gear. The initiative ended in the plant piazza della Vittoria, where, in addition to the headquarters of the Prefecture, the “Bombi” gallery is situated. In recent months the gallery has become a symbol of the suffering of migrants who, stayed inside for weeks before the junta sealed the entrances on November 24th and put up a four-metre high steel fence.
Among the various speeches (among which were some asylum seekers, unfortunately present in an insignificant number) the solidarity and anti-racist intentions of the day were reiterated. Anarchists from all over the region were good and visible with different banners, flags and flyers as well as trolleys with food and hot drinks. It was definitely a good day for the city but not one which lent itself to triumphalism — many citizens have not supported the initiative and the work to be done to undermine the racist mentality of a traditionally bourgeois and conservative city is still long and difficult. The important thing is that today’s initiative is only part a long and fruitful journey.
This is an edited machine translation of an article which first appeared at Umanita Nova
Pic: Migrant rights supporters hold a banner saying “the whole world our homeland,” via Umanita Nova.