During the sit-ins on organized by the Free Trieste Movement on the border of the Free Territory of Trieste with Italy, took place many disruptive actions of the police, in particular contestations concerning the temporary road signals arranged by the activists of Free Trieste to highlight the existence of the border. I wrote bout it before on my blog (see “THE WAR OF SIGNS ON THE BORDER OF THE FREE TERRITORY OF TRIESTE”).
Twice, the police did go as far as to remove the signs upon an order of the Questore, essentially trying, by toni so, to stop an action that upsets Italian authorities and in one case, they did also confiscate the signs themselves.
In both occasions, as the person who organized the demonstration, I received an administrative sanction for breaching the Traffic code (according to the police, the road signs are irregular and would distract the drivers) and, on May 14th, when the signs were confiscated, I was also reported for alleged non-respect of the requirements of the Questore on the matter of road signals.
Obviously we never surrendered to such provocations, and whenever the police sanctioned us or removed the signs, the day after we replaced them. And the day after the police would no longer complain about the demonstration, and the signs remained displayed during the whole demonstration, to the end.
During recent days, I was able to access the acts of the proceeding opened by judicial authorities against me after the complaint of the Questura of Trieste, DIGOS department. I am charged with the violations at article 650 of the Italian Criminal Code and at article 18 of the Testo Unico delle Leggi di Pubblica Sicurezza (Consolidated Law on public security, which is nothing but a 1931 Royal Decree, which could not even be enforced in the Free Territory of Trieste).
Reading the act of denunciation, it is clear that the actual problem is the writings displayed on our highly contested signs, because the signs indicate all that Italy it not willing to recognize: the Free Territory of Trieste.
Here is what the DIGOS – political police division – writes in the complaint “… were vain all protests of the officer of the Police on the matter of the similitude of those signs with actual road signs, and therefore the concrete danger that such signs could confuse driver on the way. As an answer, GIURASTANTE repeated that the sole purpose of the signs was to indicate the border between a presumed free territory of Trieste and the Italian State”.
In the report of the agents of the DIGOS who assisted to the demonstration is also emphasized the alleged breach of the Traffic code: “The officer in charge contested once again to Giurastante the violations of the Traffic code as well as the non-compliance with the requirements of Mr. Questore which did clearly order to comply with the Traffic Code and “in particular on the pertinent legislation concerning road signals”.
Both reports and the complaint do therefore repeat that I was sanctioned as a breach of the Traffic code by the agents who were called at the demonstration from Duino by the officer of the DIGOS. But it does also result that the police came from Duino only after the intervention of a patrol of the traffic police, which did not find breaches of the Traffic Code committed by me or any other of the peaceful activists.
In the report of vide-questore Mutton, this episode is explained as: “…after promptly informing the head of the Cabinet (of the Questore A/N.), we required, through the Operational Service, the intervention of a patrol of the Traffic Police to contest the breach of the Traffic Code. Upon a phone call to the Traffic police, [omissis], explaining the problems of the road signs, and soliciting an intervention of his patrol,. The patrol of the Traffic police arrived about 40 minutes later, since it came from Rabuiese. The patrol, consisting in [omissis], after reaching us, declared that according to them, no breach of the Traffic code was committed. I reminded to them that little longer than a month before an identical intervention had been requested, and another patrol of the Traffic police had taken care to charge the participants to the demonstration with breaches of the Traffic code right in regard to non-compliance with the requirements on road signals. Chief assistant [omissis] repeated that, in his opinion, no violation was committed and, even if his colleagues made a wrong report, he was not willing to report violations that, according to him, had not been committed. Mr. [omissis] did add that he had spoken to his chief, and he agreed that no breaches of the Traffic code were committed. He also said that, however, since we had filmed with the forensic division the contested signs, on Monday, in the office and with calm, they could have verified whether there were violations of the Traffic code or not and any ground to sanction the participants to the sit-in later on. I explained to [omissis] that waiting for Monday was impossible, because we were in the middle of a demonstration and the requirements of the Questore had been disregarded, also, their report was the condictio sine qua non to proceed and charge the person who organised the demonstration, pursuant article 650 of the Italian Criminal Code. Yet, [omissis] repeated again that he was not going to contest a thing since, in his opinion, no breach to the Traffic code was committed … Since the patrol of the Traffic police was decided not to contest the infringements of the Traffic code, and given that many of the people at the demonstration had videocameras, we discharged the patrol and took care of the complaint with the patrol that came from Duino”.
That’s it, in the dryness of the reports of the police all is clarified (I underlined the same parts that were underlined by the magistrate in charge of the investigation). It was necessary denouncing the person who promoted the “upsetting” demonstration, and in order to do it, it was necessary proving that he had not complied with the requirements of the Questore dealing with the Traffic Code.
So, without a breach to the Traffic code, it was impossible presenting a criminal complaint against the person in charge of the Free Trieste Movement and ending a demonstration that Italian Authorities would have never wanted to see. Their next step would have been removing by force the road signs with the indications of the State Border and related legislation. Which is exactly what happened next, with an intervention of the firefighters.
But again, the premise was missing: there were no breaches of the Traffic code, as repeated many times by the policeman that had been called to remove the signs that are symbols of freedom. As confirmed by two members of the Traffic Police itself, refusing to obey to an illegitimate order: nobody violated the Traffic code.
There was no reason to remove and confiscate the signs. It was an arbitrary, preventive action, confirmed by the Prosecution Office of the Republic in Trieste, without the needed premises, except for the need to illegally stop a political demonstration, and to attempt intimidating with a complaint the President of the political organization: it is all extremely serious.
As stated by Lawyer Edoardo Longo in the appeal for the release of the confiscated signs: “The signs prove assolute nothing, they are inert objects and they have nothing to do with behaviours, even if they are the “objects of desire” of the police forces who were willing to stop a demonstration and nothing more. This is a clear misapplication committed by the Public Prosecutor, in an attempato to correct a rather reckless misconduct of police forces. Also, it appears grotesque and incredible that the Public Prosecutor considers it necessary acquiring the signs to “investigate the artefacts/technical surveys/subjects involved”… what are we talking about? It is not like false notes or forgeries of paintings to be deeply analyzed! …. Confiscation committed for the purpose of “searching” other grounds for charge is a crime, it is absolutely forbidden by law…. The reason does have anything but good reason, rather, it very clearly is an illegitimate action of the police, aiming at ending a political demonstration that Government Authorities cannot stand, nothing more”.
On June 16th, one month after the confiscation, the Court that re-examined the Court accepted the appeal of the Free Trieste Movement releasing the signs of the “contested border”. According to the judges,“This is not the kind of properties that falls in the categories subject to mandatory confiscation”.
What has happened did also make the “Frezza directive” reappear: we are talking about the note od fate 17.12.2013 addressed to the DIGOS (see port: “REPRESSION OF THE JUDICIAL AUTHORITY AGAINST THE CITIZENS OF TRIESTE”) in which Public Prosecutor Federico Frezza invited the Questura to “interpret” the law in order to charge the supported of the Free Trieste Movement with non-existing crimes (subversion and rebellion against public institutionse…): acts worth a true Police State.