Free Trieste Movement

THE WAR OF SIGNS ON THE BORDER OF THE FREE TERRITORY OF TRIESTE

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Since four month, an unusual confrontation is taking place on the border of the Free Territory of Trieste with Italy. The Free Trieste Movement, that stands for the recognition of the legal status of the Free Territory of Trieste, charges Italian authorities to have not arranged the rightful road signs showing the existence of the border between the two Countries, so it requested to the Commissar of the Government, delegated of the provisional Italian Government of the FTT, to restore the missing road signs within 30 days – expiring on 12 June.

In order to solicit the Italian Government, entrusted with the administration of the Free Territory of Trieste under an international mandate, the Memorandum of Understanding of London of 5 October 1954, to comply with its obligations, Free Trieste started a series of monthly demonstrations along the border, arranging temporary border signs that are displayed during the sit-ins to show the existence, at the present day, of the border of State between Italy and the Free Territory of Trieste.

But that is not it, the activists of Free Trieste did also trace the border line, finding and showing the trigonometric points that demarcate it under the 1947 Treaty of Peace, as well as revealing once again the old boundary stones (unfortunately, most of them were destroyed by Italian authorities).

This legitimate and peaceful action, with which the citizens of the Free Territory of Trieste affirm the existence of their State, is annoying very much Italian authorities who, since cannot deny the existence of the border, started to put into question the presence of the road signs displayed during the demonstrations of Free Trieste.

The actual charges, even if they were never put black on while by the Questore in charge, consist in the fact that those border signs with “Territorio Libero di Trieste – confine di Stato con l’Italia” (Free Territory of Trieste – Border of State with Italy) written on creerebbero would confuse the drivers, as well as constituting a breach to the Italian Traffic Code. So the Italian police started to confiscate them.

The first time it happened during the March sit-in. The protests of the activists of Free Trieste, who opposed an arbitrary action of Italian authorities attempting to stop the citizens of the Free Territory who were demonstrating for the legitimate exercise of their rights were vain. Take away the signs, nothing more to say.

Then they started to take away also the flags of State of the Free Territori of Trieste that were flying near the former frontier posts of San Giovanni di Duino and strada del vallone to Gorizia. In this case, the pennons, cut to their base, as well as the removal of the flags, took place because of “unknown persons”.

But Free Trieste did not give up. And so, after all forced removals, new border signs displaying the border appeared. Same for the flags. While on the borderline there are more and more directions of the frontier posts, that appear on the dry stones or on the boundary stones restored by the citizens of the Free Territory.

During the latest sit-in on the border, which took place in mid-May, Italian authorities wanted to show once again that they “dislike” that people remember that border that they do arbitrarily trample on. But since the Questore had difficulties writing worn a formal charge – the problem is not the signs (otherwise Italian streets would not be filled with all king of commercial signs because that would distract the driver), but their content – the solution was to order a “generic” prescription to respect the “Traffic Code” (that of Italy, which was not even extended to the Free Territory of Trieste).

A prescription that, in the end, turned out to be only an excuse for a further action of the police, that took away the newly restored border signs. Signs which, on the other side, are the best reproduction of the signals used in the Free Territory of Trieste by the Allied Military Government from 1947 to 1954. Signs that do precisely explain why such signs are no only necessary, but mandatory in compliance with the international treaties that recognize the legal status of the Free Territory of Trieste.

But Italian authorities don’t care about this. So, when intimidating the participants to the demonstration (to the point of calling firefighters to remove the signs), the citizens of the Free Territory of Trieste who do peacefully stand for their rights, the police did even officially report me for organising the sit-in and for having not obeyed immediately to the order to remove the signs.

Giudicai authorities did then confirm the seizure of the signs, showing once again the real reason of the actions against the demonstrations of the Free Trieste Movement on the border. Public prosecutor De Bortoli, in the document confirming the seizure of the signs, does clearly state that those signs are “dangerous” because of their content. Right, they are “dangerous”: they  are actually affirming the principles of legality, that Italian authorities cannot stand.

But intimidation attempts notwithstanding, during the next demonstration of 11-12 June, the border signs that show Italy – Free Territory of Trieste border of State will be back. And flags with halberd will fly again.

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The reasons of the rejection of the request to return the road signs displayed by the Free Trieste Movement: the Public Prosecutor argues about their content – which means, the references to the Free Territory of Trieste.

Translated from blog “Ambiente e Legalità” – “Environment and Legality” by Roberto Giurastante

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