Venice, a mob at Piazzale Roma: “No Global” removes barriers against tourist crowds.

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Open protest by the social centers: thirty people removed the gates installed by the City to manage the flow of tourists in front of Ponte Calatrava.

By Eleonora Vallin and Andrea Magrini

VENEZIA. Sunday morning there was an open protest by the social centers, who removed the gates installed by the City in front of Ponte Calatrava to manage the flow of tourists.

With a mob, twenty members of the Centro Sociale Morion began dismantling the turnstiles, seen as a symbol “of the selling of the city to the tourists”. Leading the protest was Tommaso Cacciari.

City security and police were at the site. The action took place in front of hundreds of curious tourists who took pictures of it all. The gates were put back in place by Venice security.

“They are only seeking publicity, this shows that the program is working”. This was the comment of the Commander of the Municipal Police Marco Agostini regarding the mob of about thirty members of ‘no global’.

However, the youth of Centro sociale Morion distributed a message to explain their reasons for the protest: “In the end Luigi Brugnaro has done this. The man who loves the cruise ships, the man who will not stop the conversion of property (to tourist use), the man who allows AirB&B to negotiate a meager tax with the City, the man who rents out the Scuola della Misericordia for private parties, the man who has conflicts of interest at Pili, the man who wants to sell off Poveglia, the man who wants to transform Marghera into the European Dubai, the man who touts decorum – he did this. He put turnstiles in Venice”.

For the ‘no global’ members, “the images of the city barricaded, with selective entrance, of the reduction of the city to a theme park might have given rise to a bitter smile had they been yet another of the endless artists intending to condemn the progressive death of Venice. Instead they aroused indignation because they symbolize the definitive surrender of an administration that is not only the subject of global ridicule, but which at the same time throws up its hands when confronted with the emergency of depopulation, of the demographic and social impoverishment of the city that it manages”.

“We continue to wish to solve the problems of the city at all costs”. The Mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, commented on the events. “We put everything back in place about half an hour after the  heroic gesture of our local “no globals”. I thank the local Police, Carabinieri, the Guarda di Finanzia, the Questore and the Prefect”.

The Mayor announced that the protest would not stop him. “We want to resolve problems which for many years these people have prevented from being fixed. We won’t give in to provocations. With complete confidence we continue to want to regulate the flows of tourists and improve people’s lives. You can easily come to Venice. The gates, everything is in place. We will continue with our experimentation”.

Brugnaro decided to visit the site and also the nearby Municipal Police station, where there is an operating center with ten screens that monitor, moment by moment, the numbers of visitors. In case of overcrowding the two gates (the other is in place at the entrance to Ponte degli Scalzi) will be closed to tourists, to whom alternate routes will be suggested.

The social centers, in their statement, see the placement of the gates in a much different light: “This choice is not for limiting day-visitor tourists, it is for exactly the opposite. On the one hand it creates the figure of the legitimate citizen, which in and of itself is un-democratic, homogenizing, and which could easily end up being interpreted in a crude ethnic-identity sense. On the other hand, imposing a damage control device on the same ‘legitimate Venetian’ is to say that he has already been expropriated from his own city”.

Source: La Nuova Venezia, 29 April 2018

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