Police crackdown on students sparks outrage across Italy

A Palestine solidarity demonstration composed primarily of students was repressed by security forces on February 23. Progressives have condemned the attack as well as the crackdown on pro-Palestine protests February 29, 2024 by Peoples Dispatch

Screenshots from footage of police crackdown on school students demonstrating for Palestine in Pisa. Photo: FGCI

Progressives in Italy including youth-student groups have strongly condemned the police crackdown on school students in Pisa who were participating in a Palestine solidarity demonstration last week.

Various groups, including Communist Refoundation Party (PRC), Potere al Popolo, Communist Youth Front (FGC), Italian Communist Youth Federation (FGCI), and Alternative Student Opposition (OSA), condemned the brutal police attack on students in Pisa, and pro-Palestine protesters in other parts of the country.

Progressive groups across Italy have stepped up their mobilizations and campaigns demanding an immediate ceasefire in the ongoing Israeli war on Gaza that has killed around 30,000 people. Major Palestine solidarity demonstrations were held in Italian cities like Milan and Rome on Saturday, February 24. Meanwhile, on Friday, police tried to forcefully disperse demonstrations in Florence and Pisa.

The police crackdown on the peaceful demonstrators at Via San Frediano in Pisa led by school students injured several of them and provoked widespread protest from all walks of the society. Teachers of the Russoli Art School in Pisa lodged a formal complaint against the brutal crackdown that took place in front of the institute. It has also alleged that the police crackdown on the students in Pisa is not an accident or an isolated incident but a purposefully executed one.

Recently, students have been at loggerheads with the Meloni government and police over the rise in fascist attacks against students and over the controversial reforms in vocational education in the country proposed by education minister Giuseppe Valditara.

The student group OSA has called for a demonstration in the city of Lecce on March 2, protesting the continuous charges and repression of the police against students.

Potere al Popolo said that “Israel could massacre 30,000 Palestinians, and openly say today that the goal is ethnic cleansing of Palestine, crush the million and a half Palestinians refugees in Rafah, thanks to the criminal silence and support of Biden, Von der Leyen, Meloni and co. Italy is at the forefront of this chain of complicity.” Potere al Popolo noted that Italy had abstained at the UN whenever there was a discussion on a ceasefire.”

On February 28, the Communist Youth Front (FGC) stated that “in the world of the Meloni government, the victims become the perpetrators. While those who protest for their ideas are beaten by the police, the education reform of minister Valditara will make it easier to repress students who decide to fight. A big national mobilization is needed, against this government and repression.”