Italy: Repression worsens against activists fighting TAP gas pipeline

Grassroots organisation the AltreMenti Valle Peligna collective reports that repression is becoming increasingly harsh as activists fight against the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) in Puglia.

Over the last week groups of activists from NoTAP have blocked work on the line, which is one-fifth owned by BP and aims eventully to run gas from Azerbaijan through to western Europe, at a site near Masseria del Capitano.  Dozens of ancient olive trees are being uprooted as constructors do preparatory works for a stretch of the pipe running across the south of the country.

In extraordinary scenes the non-violent protest has been dealt with by sending in a full force of armoured riot police and soldiers, who have intimidated and bullied protesters as they blocked the site entrance before eventually hauling them away.

AltreMenti Valle Peligna, which is also active fighting plans for the pipeline in its own backyard, said:

Apulian NoTAP activists are being forced to endure yet another police repression in response to the defence of their territory, one of many which has been designated to be devastated by an unnecessary “great work” which, despite their rhetoric of “progress, is nothing if not the denial of self-determination for local communities.

The outcome of the referendum seems to have minimally affected the intentions of the government, which is striving to proceed with the Tap pipeline using emergency measures, bypassing the popular will through their usual “shield and baton” mode.

Despite the kilometers that separate us, we are united and together in the same struggle against adverse work to our economic and environmental future, our health and social balance, in short — to our lives.

No to TAP!

The $50 billion project was originally slated to begin work in earnest in 2015, but has faced repeated setbacks as locals cried foul over its impacts on tourism, fishing, agriculture, food and culture. The situation has led to clashes between local and central government, with regional councillors affirming that the olive tree displacements are illegal, but saying they are unable to overturn the government’s position that the pipeline is a “strategic matter.”