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by riottoso Friday, Feb. 02, 2007 at 1:09 AM


A permanent sit in started in Vicenza on 23 January 2007

After the Central Government and the City Government have bounced back and forth the responsibility of deciding on the American proposal for enlargement of the Ederle USA base in Vicenza to its double, the Executive in the person of Romano Prodi has yielded to the American ultimatum and has communicated that: "the Government is not opposed to the new USA base".

It has taken hardly two hours, for thousands of citizens of Vicenza to parade in protest for the roads of the center of town. If the Prime Minister thought to have closed the issue with his communication, he was wrong, since Vicenza' citizens stood up against his decision. People invaded the roads, and started a permanent presidium.

Eight months of mobilizations culminated immediately before this desicion in the huge manifestation on December 2, 2006, with 30 thousand participants who marched from Camp Ederle, the old base to Dal Molin, the location where the base would extend. This event showed the widespread opposition of the population to the new military installation.

Nonetheless even if the Government has often spoken of the relevance of widespread acceptance from the local community, it yielded to the economic and military interests. In this, it was a tombstone the decision of the Communal Administration that, with the consent from the previous Government and of Berlusconi to the operation, kept hidden for three years the base extension plan to the citizens and successively, notwithstanding the opposition of the population, has approved the plan in Council session closed to the public and finally refused the request advanced by city caucuses to hold a referendum on the issue.

But Vicenza has not surrended to the impositions of the USA base. Rather, women and men, old and young, workers, students and professionals started meeting in demonstrations and discussed in public assemblies and conventions and eventually merged in establishing the permanent presidium, a place visited by thousands of people in the few days of existence. The shared position is that the citizens of Vicenza do not want a new military base at Dal Molin. Vicenza has moved, in mass citizens occupied the railroads of the station two hours after Prodi hold the press conference. In the next days a series of initiatives were organized, including a students' demonstration and a presidium at the Municipality and the Prefettura. Our city has discovered in this instance the dimension of communitarian aims and has established anew the nets of solidarities that we had seen acting recently in Italy around other issues of large concern for all – like in Scanzano about toxic wastes and in Val di Susa around the building of a new rail road. In those cases the mobilization of people has been able to stop the plans of devastating of the territory.

We were also joined by the solidarity and the presence of people from other parts of Italy, we received from them a warm support. Others supported our opposition to the new base with sit ins and demonstrations in their cities.

Our way is just at the beginning. The issue will not be closed with the decision of the Government. Citizens, associations and labor organizations will oppose it. Among parliamentarians many self-suspended from work. Vicenza wants to stop this plan and, if necessary, people are ready for non violent civil disobedience. We wish to give an unitary, pacific and determined voice to our disdain. We call everybody to mobilize against the militarization of the city, against the construction of a new installment at less than two kilometers from the Basilica of Palladio, a base that will consume as much the city water as that needed for 30thousand people, that will cost to tax payers millions of euro (since according with the bilateral Italy-USA agreements 41% of the expenses of maintenance of the military bases USA in our territory will be covered by the Italian State Budget), and that will be the starting point for future wars. Vicenza calls to build a national manifestation on 17 February.

We want to color our roads with the rainbow flags and with placards against the El Molin, with placards for the defense of the common goods and the earth, for the defense of the jobs and of the dignity and quality of the life.

A plural and popular march will take place; we are convinced that the diversities are a treasure to value therefore we wish for unity in this march. We also invited politicians and the men and women of the left that share responsibility in local and national Government, we invited them to come without their party's flags in sign of respect towards the many women and the many men who feel betrayed from parties and Institutions. We ask to give value to the parliamentary who self-suspended in protest for the decision of the Government.

We hope that this protest will make the Government to step back from its decision to give way to the new USA base.

We are against Dal Molin for urban, ecological and social reasons but also because we repudiate war. For this same reason we do not accept the refinancing by our Governement of the mission in Afghanistan. Our struggle against war will not stop.

We invite you to come to Vicenza, on February 17th,

Against every new military base,

For the publication of the bilateral agreements that regulate the presence of the USA bases,

For the defense of the earth and the common goods

For a real partecipation in the choices of the local communities and the citizens.

The future is in our hands: we defend the earth for a tomorrow without military bases and without war.

The permanent presidium against Dal Molin

February 17 come to Vicenza!

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