Thursday, October 20, 2011


Image: Wikimedia Commons

On Monday it was the turn of Italy's police unions to demonstrate, which they did peacefully in many towns including Rome, where they held a sit-in outside Parliament. They were protesting against government cuts which, police say, make it impossible to guarantee public safety as they do not even have sufficient funds to purchase the petrol they need for their vehicles.

Unions involved say that their members also lack office supplies, computer upgrades and maintenance, uniforms and the funds to pay for maintenance work on the buildings where they work.   For the first time, the police unions asked for donations from the public so that they can buy petrol.

Carabinieri and Guardia di Finanza police did not demonstrate as they are military and therefore banned by statute from doing so.  Representatives of Italy's non-military police forces, Fire Service and Forestry Commission are planning further demonstrations in the near future.

As Rome burned on Saturday, a very different kind of demonstration which did not make the headlines was taking place along the route to Catania's Fontanarossa Airport:  after ten hours of torrential rain, residents found their homes flooded for the umpteenth time, despite recent maintenance work which had been carried out in the area.   Some of the residents took to their rooftops to protest against the authorities' lack of action, whilst others blocked access roads to the airport.  

Several flights were delayed as their crews could not reach the airport and a crew-carrying bus which tried to force its way through the barricade had a window broken whilst a stewardess travelling in it was slightly injured.  Passengers travelling to the airport by bus had to alight on the approach roads and wade to the departures terminal with their luggage.

The residents' action seems to have worked as the Mayor of Catania went to meet them on the same day and he later called an emergency meeting of municipal engineers and maintenance staff with a view to satisfying their demands. 

I sympathise with the residents but I am glad I was not airport-bound that day.


Whispering Walls said...

Who polices the police demonstrations?

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

That's a very good question, WW.


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