Progressives condemn repression of anti-war march in Niscemi, Italy

Anti-war groups and ecologists have intensified their campaign against the presence of military bases and garrisons of NATO and the US across Italy

August 10, 2022 by Peoples Dispatch
Anti-war protest - Italy
Front line of the anti-war march to the military base in Niscemi. (Photo: via No MUOS)

Anti-war groups and other progressive sections in Italy denounced the repression of an anti-war march in the Niscemi commune of Sicily. On Sunday, August 7, hundreds of activists and ecologists from groups like No MUOS Movement, No Base Movement – Coltano, A Foras – Sardinia, Punta Izzo Possible, Autonomous Collective of Port Workers, Political Ecology – Palermo, and others organized a march to the US-controlled military base in Niscemi which houses one of the ground stations of the US military communication system, Mobile User Objective System (MUOS). Italian security forces violently repressed the march using water cannons and tear gas. Anti-war groups have protested the police action and stated that the security forces used teargas canisters with hazardous chemicals to attack the peaceful march.

Activists from various anti-war groups and ecological initiatives had assembled in Niscemi as part of a three-day camp organized by the No MUOS Movement from August 5-7. The march to the military base was organized on the third day of the camp to protest the presence of military camps of the US and NATO across Italy, including the MUOS ground station in Niscemi. In the three-day camp, the participants discussed the impact of imperialist wars and military garrisons on climate and ecology. The No MUOS Movement stated that “there is a very close relationship between the climate crisis and wars. The impact of wars on the environment begins long before the military conflict materializes. Building and sustaining military forces consumes huge amounts of natural resources and [leads to] enormous volumes of greenhouse gas emissions.”

According to the No MUOS Movement, vast areas of Sicily are facing acute ecological disaster due to the presence of military garrisons and unscientific developmental projects. The No MUOS Movement was launched in Italy to oppose the installation and functioning of the ground station of MUOS in Niscemi adjacent to the Sughereta di Niscemi Nature Reserve.

On August 8, Potere al Popolo (Power to the People) stated, “we’re back demonstrating together with hundreds of people in the heart of the Sughereta Nature Reserve, who protest the US Navy antennas, which are also used to control drones that too often export death around the world.”

“We did it yesterday, as many other times, and we will do it again every time, because this fight, now 10 years long, is emblematic of the he US military presence in our country, but also of the devastation of our territories inflicted by those who govern us. We want to stop the militarization of our country, and to safeguard our territories, and the health of people and nature,” added Potere al Popolo.

In its statement on August 8, the Communist Youth Front (FGC) condemned the police repression in Niscemi. FGC stated that “The No Muos struggle is an example of perseverance and combativeness in putting the sticks between the wheels of imperialism.”

“Off to the Nato/US bases! No involvement of Italy in imperialist plans!” said the FGC.

In June, the No Base Movement organized a massive protest in Coltano, Pisa, against the Italian government’s plan to open a new military base in the San Rossore Park in Coltano. The Autonomous Collective of Port Workers is also active in protests against the use of Italian ports like Genoa to transfer arms and ammunition for imperialist wars.