Protesters opposing a high speed rail project in the Susa valley in Italy faced violent action at San Didero in Piedmont on Tuesday, April 13. In recent times, the No TAV (No to the High Speed Train) movement has gained fresh momentum against new bids for construction at the A32 Turin-Bardonecchia motorway. The police action came while protesters resisted work on a new motor park linked to the A32 motorway. The police used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters, injuring several people. For decades, residents in the region – which lies near the Italian-French border – have been resisting massive construction initiatives and subsequent deforestation intended to ‘improve connectivity’ between Turin in Italy and Lyon in France.
The No TAV activists, anticipating fresh bids for construction in San Didero, had set up a protest garrison at the location months ago. Following the police attack on April 13, some of the protesters locked themselves inside the garrison and continued their agitation till the fire brigade forcefully evicted them by April 19. According to reports, on several instances during last week, the police disrupted the supply of food and water to the protesters who continued the protest inside the garrison.
The No TAV movement began in the Susa Valley of Italy in 1990 in opposition to the proposed Turin-Lyon high-speed/high-capacity railway project – the TAV (Treno ad Alta Velocità). The movement questions the viability, cost and safety of the project and its actualization. The project has also been condemned for being driven by European construction lobbies. Several No TAV activists have been facing persecution by the state authorities for their involvement in the protests against it.
The No TAV movement has stated, “in a disastrous moment where we are confronted by a pandemic and an economic and social crisis, TELT (Tunnel Euralpin Lyon Turin), the developer in charge of the Turin-Lyon rail link, with the support of the Ministry of Interior and the Turin Police Headquarters, decides to invade the Valley again, militarizing it and treating the inhabitants as usurpers of their own land.”
“After razing hectares of wood in Val Clarea, Telt has decided to go further and come out into the open in the heart of the valley, trying once again to create a special invisible corner in which to devastate a further portion of the Susa valley,” it added.
Progressive sections in Italy, including the Potere al Popolo (Power to People), protested the police crackdown at San Didero and expressed solidarity with the No TAV protesters.