Statewatch News online: Appeal for the release of theatre group arrested in Genoa

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Appeal: Demand for the immediate release of members of the PublixTheatreCaravan. Protest against miscarriage of justice and for freedom of expression, Europe, 9 August 2001

"On 22 July 2001, 25 members of the PublixTheatreCaravan (from Germany, Australia, the US, Austria, Slovakia, Swedish) were arrested by the Italian police 15 km from Genoa. As part of a European theatre tour, they had visited the Italian city of Genoa during the G8 summit, in order to create a public discussion forum about the European border policies with their play “No Border No Nation”. Without any connection to specific events, the Italian police stopped the van of the theatre group, and declared that some possessions (pen knives, black T-shirts) they found in the theatre bus indicated that they were part of a criminal organisation, the so-called ‘black bloc’. These possessions are also the sole basis for the charges of vandalism and endangering public safety, which the theatre group is now facing.

The prisoners have been treated badly, and are now on remand, which under Italian law implies they can stay imprisoned for up to six months, until a trial date is set. This Monday (13th August) however, there is second hearing, the first hearing having been invalidated due to apparent bias of the judges. We are appealing to you to protest against the arrest and planned trail against the PublixTheatreCaravan. Please help us to avert a severe miscarriage of justice. Please fax and/or e-mail the Italian embassies in your countries and/or the responsible Italian Ministers immediately. Please write your own protest letters, but send the model letter if pressed for time.

Freedom of speech

At a time in which our political leaders are facing growing public concerns about the organisation of our society, it seems that their response is not to open a public forum of discussion, but to stifle freedom of speech. Walls are erected around conference centers where political meetings are held, police forces are gathered to prevent demonstrations to come near the political discussion fora, preventative arrests are taking place without any indications of violent behaviour (Amsterdam 1997, Gothenburg 2001). The democratic right to demonstrate, the cornerstone of our free democratic society, is criminalised and now violently suppressed. Media strategies are used to avoid any public discussion and to stifle influence of the concerned public, in particular through the portrayal of peaceful demonstrators as violent thugs.

This strategy is now reaching its height in targeting artists: the PublixTheatreCaravan aspires to be an alternative concept to institutionalised theatre: it wants to connect places of political discussion and action. The caravan started at Nickelsdorf on the Austrian-Hungarian border and visited the World Economic Form in Salzburg (Austria), a bordercamp in Petisovci (Slovenia), a festival in La Spezia (Italy) before heading to Genoa (Italy). In all these different places, performances were held and streetparties organised. The Caravan uses artistic expression to encourage public and transparent ways of discussing current affairs.

Their arrest (but also of others in and around Genoa in conjunction with the demonstrations against the G8 - over 40 people are still in prison) and the accusations of the Italian authorities that they are violent, are ludicrous. They need to be released immediately.

We Demand:

The immediate release of the 25 arrested as part of the Publix Theatre Caravan.

An official apology by the Italian authorities for the violent treatment of the prisoners.

An immediate return of the confiscated prop material of the theatre group and a reimbursement of any damage occured during its confiscation."

For more information, contact the:

Campaign to Free the PublixTheatreCaravan
Tel/Fax: 00-43-676-324 38 20 e-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} or url:


Name of sender

Italian embassy

August 2001

Dear representative of Italy,

Re: Arrest of performance artists of the PublixTheatre Caravan after the Genoa protests. Demand for immediate release.

I have learned with astonishment and disbelief, that 25 theatre artists have been arrested, beaten and imprisoned after the G-8 meeting in Genoa. The Italian law enforcement agencies are now accusing members of the theatre group who were on a European performance tour under the name PublixTheatreCaravan, to be part of the so-called black bloc.

There has been no specific incident, which could connect the performance artists to any violence. The sole basis for the Italian authorities’ accusations are pen knives and black T-shirts found in the van of the theatre group. One person who was hitchhiking and caught a lift with the PublixTheatreCaravan was arrested alongside the group and is now facing the same charges!

I hereby protest strongly against the Italian authorities’ conduct and demand the immediate release of the 25 artists, who have clearly been falsely arrested and imprisoned. This is an evident case of arbitrary arrest, it portrays the criminalisation of peaceful protest and furthermore, it is an example of a severe curtailment of freedom of speech: the theatre group consists of artists who had been touring Europe to create public discussions around the concerns which were central to the G-8 meeting in Genoa.

In a democratic society, the freedom of speech has to be safeguarded. I appeal to you to support this goal and defend our civil liberties.

Yours sincerely,

Addresses: Italian responsible Ministers:

President of the Republic (H.E. Carlo Azeglio Ciampi) PRESIDENZA DELLA REPUBBLICA Palazzo del Quirinale 00187 Roma Italy Tel. (6) 46991 Fax (6) 46992384 e-mail {HYPERLINK ""}

Prime Minister (H. E. Silvio Berlusconi) Piazza Colonna, 370 00187 Roma Italy Tel: (6) 67791 Fax: (6) 6783998 or (6) 6796894 Homepage: {HYPERLINK ""}

Foreign Affairs (Min. Renato Ruggiero) Ministery of Foreign Affairs
P.le Farnesina, 1 00194 ROMA Tel. (6) 36911 Fax (6) 3222850 or (6) 36914246 Homepage: {HYPERLINK ""}

Interior (Min. Claudio Scajola) Ministery of Interior Affairs Palazzo Viminale Via A. Depretis 00184 ROMA Tel. (6) 4651 Fax (6) 4827630 or (6) 4740945 e-mail: Homepage: {HYPERLINK ""}

Justice (Min. Roberto Castelli) Ministery of Justice Via Arenula, 70 00186 ROMA Tel. (6) 68851 Fax (6) 52278550 e-mail: Homepage: {HYPERLINK ""}

Italian Embassies abroad

Here the adresses, phone- and fax numbers and e-mail adresses of the main embassies in the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Cananda, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Danmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Norway, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Slowakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine and the United States. (The countries are chosen for the purpose of our contacts) For other adresses of Italian embassies look on

AUSTRALIA Canberra - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Dino VOLPICELLI 12, Grey Street - Deakin, A.C.T. 2600 - Canberra Tel. 00612 62733333 - 62733398 - 62733198 Fax 62734223 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

AUSTRIA Vienna - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Pier Luigi Rachele Metternichgasse, 13 - 1030 Wien Tel. 00431 7125121/2/3 Fax 7139719 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""}
BELGIUM Bruxelles - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Gaetano Cortese 28, Rue Emile Claus - 1050 Bruxelles Tel. 00.32.2 643.38.50 Fax 648.54.85 Telex 046 23950 ITALDIPL E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

CANADA Ottawa - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Marco Colombo 275, Slater Street, 21st floor - Ottawa (Ontario) K1P 5H9 Tel. 001613 2322401/2/3 Fax 2331484 2348424 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

CHILE Santiago - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Emilio Barbarani Calle Clemente Fabres, 1050 Tel. 2259029, 2259212 e 2259439/SEGRETERIA AMB. 2092141 Fax 2232467 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home Page {HYPERLINK ""}

COSTA RICA San Josè de Costarica - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Giovan Battista Campagnola 5a entrata del Barrio Los Yoses, 1729 - 1000 San Josè Tel. 00506 2246574, 2342326, 2249415 Fax 2258200 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

CROATIA Zagabria - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Fabio Pigliapoco Meduliceva Ulica, 22 - 41000 Zagabria Tel. 003851 4846386/7/8 Fax 4846384 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""}

CZECH REPUBLIC Praga - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Paolo Faiola Nerudova, 20 118 00 Praha I Tel. 004202 33080111 Fax 57531522 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home Page: {HYPERLINK ""}

DANMARK Copenhagen - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Antonio Catalano di Melilli Gammel Vartov Vej, 7 - DK - 2900 Hellerup Tel. 004539 626877 Fax 622599 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""}

FRANCIA Parigi - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Federico Di Roberto 47, Rue de Varenne - Paris 7 - 75343 Paris Tel. 00331 49540300 Fax 45493581 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""}

GERMANY Berlino - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Silvio Fagiolo Dessauer Strasse 28/29 - 10963 Berlino Tel. 004930 254400 Fax 25440169 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page:{HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""}

GREAT BRITAIN Londra - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Luigi Amaduzzi 14, Three Kings Yard, London W1Y 4EH Tel. 004420 73122200 Fax 73122230 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

GREECE Atene - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Agostino Mathis Odos Sekeri, 2 - 10674 Atene Tel. 00301 3617260/3 e 3617273/4 Fax 3617330 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""}

IRELAND Dublino - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Alberto SCHEPISI 63/65, Northumberland Road - Dublin 4 Tel. 003531 6601744 Fax 6682759 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

NORWAY Oslo - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Andrea Giuseppe Mochi Onory di Saluzzo di Monterosso e Valgrana Inkognitogaten, 7 - 0244 Oslo Tel 004722 22552233/4 - 22557250 -22441056 - 22446431 Fax 443436 E-mail {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

THE NETHERLANDS L'Aja - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Giorgio Testori Alexanderstraat, 12 - 2514 JL - L’Aja Tel. 003170 3021030 Fax 3614932 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

POLAND Varsavia - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Luca Daniele Biolato Plac Dabrowskiego, 6 - 00055 Varsavia Tel. 004822 8263471/2/3 Fax 8278507 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

SLOVENIA Lubiana - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Norberto Cappello Snezniska Ulica 8 - 1000 Ljubljana Tel. 003861 4262194,4262320 e 4258659 Fax 4253302 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""}

Bratislava - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Luca Del Balzo di Presenzano Cervenova, Ul.19 - 81103 Bratislava Tel. 004217 54413195 - 54412585 - 54413043 Fax 54413202 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio Commerciale

Madrid - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Paolo Pucci di Benisichi Calle Lagasca, 98 - 28006 Madrid Tel. 0034 914233300 Fax 915757776 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio Commerciale {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio Amministrativo {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio Scientifico

Stoccolma - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Alessandro Quaroni Oakhill - Djugården - 11521 Stoccolma Tel. 00468 245805 Fax 6600505 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio Commerciale {HYPERLINK ""} Addetto Stampa Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

Berna - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Lorenzo Ferrarin Elfenstrasse, 14 - 3000 Berna 16 Tel. 004131 3500777 Fax 3500711 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio stampa: {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio commerciale: {HYPERLINK ""} Ufficio emigrazione: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

Kiev - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Jolanda Brunetti Vulitsa Yaroslaviv Val, 32-B 252034 Kiev Tel. 0038044 4640531/2/3 - 4640540/41 Fax 4640538 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} {HYPERLINK "mailto:VISA@AMBITAL.KIEV.UA"}VISA@AMBITAL.KIEV.UA Ufficio Visti Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

Washington D.C. - Ambasciata d'Italia Amb. Ferdinando Salleo 3000 Whitehaven Street, NW Washington DC 20008 Tel. 001202 6124400 Fax 5182154 E-mail: {HYPERLINK ""} Home page: {HYPERLINK ""}

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