Maximum penalty for the militants who are fighting to save the city from the cruise ships. Fundraising support comes from artists and citizens: Emma Thompson donates a thousand Euro.
By Giampaolo Visetti
19 March 2021
Almost 20 thousand Euro in fines for having tried to defend Venice from the assault of cruise ships, which can still penetrate its fragile heart for the emotions of the tourists. The latest insult involves the activists of Comitato No Grandi Navi. On the evening of 24 September they demonstrated in the Giudecca canal, launching smoke bombs from small chartered boats. Four years later, to avoid the expiration of the case, the injunction for payment arrives now, in extremis, from the Capitaneria di Porto, to be paid by 7 April.
According to the charges, the activists “impeded navigation” and “backed into a police boat”. However, this punishment against people who have fought for years to safeguard the city that has the greatest environmental risk on the planet, promises to turn out to be a boomerang.
Thanks to an online collection, in just a few hours they have already collected over 15 thousand Euro, sent by stars from music and cinema, intellectuals, environmentalists, art lovers and common people from around the world. The first donor was the English actress Emma Thompson, with 1,000 Euro: along with her musicians and artists like Terike Haafoja, Noah Fischer, Nikolay Oleynikow and the Gulf Labour collective. Hundreds of Venetians have also mobilized with small donations, while artisans will be putting their works up for a benefit auction on 2 April. The sum necessary to avoid the seizure of the activists’ assets, them being young and not in a position to pay 2085 Euro a person in fines, should be surpassed in the coming hours. If the Justice of the Peace grants a suspension until a trial and sentence, the money will end up in a legal support fund to protect the Comitato No Grandi Navi.
“We are surprised and moved – said Tommaso Cacciari, a veteran of the naval battles in the lagoon – the global generosity and love towards Venice are already a victory. This support confirms that the people have now understood that the choice is between the cruise ships in the lagoon and the survival of the lagoon itself. It is clear, then, that with this maximum fine they were trying to cut the legs off those who defend the city: we are all young and financially insecure, and the Covid crisis has deprived many of their income. The historic centers are closed and demonstrations are suspended. Thanks to social networking their attack is failing”.
Demonstrations, attacks, trials and acquittals have followed each other for years. Around 50 Comitato No Grandi activists once arrived to jump between the colossi that make their way in front of the Basilica of San Marco: over 84 thousand Euros in fines, which were blocked by appeals. “This time however – says attorney Angelo Pozzan – the injunction is incomprehensible. The demonstration was authorized, there were no attacks, three cruise ships hadn’t even sailed. There was a protest concert on a floating stage, and only a few smoke bombs were set off”. An ad hoc ordinance, signed in extremis to stop the environmentalists, would not have been communicated. And so from this come the opposition before the Justice of the Peace, and the request for suspension.
More than the fine, however, the popular response from around the world is causing discussion. In the midst of the pandemic, struck by the economic crisis and with the tourism industry on its knees, people on every continent are right now supporting those who are calling for diverse mobility and real respect for Venice. The Government and Parliament promised a “solution outside the lagoon” for the cruise ships a year ago. No concrete measure has been adopted, though. A port in open sea, in addition to at the port mouths, remains a hypothesis. The provisional solution, at Marghera, oscillates between impracticability and destructivity. In July, with the possible return of the cruise ships, the pressures will multiply to bring these giants of the sea back in the Giudecca canal. “A catastrophe – says Cacciari – the coup de grace for a Venice which can only recover by changing course”.
Source: La Repubblica
Here are the channels for helping Comitato No Grandi Navi:
- Crowdfunding: http://www.pdbstats.com/…/aiutaci-a-difendere-venezia…/
- Online transfer via PayPal: https://paypal.me/venezialaguna
- Bank transfer to the following coordinates IBAN IT15N030696768453551 (holder: Venezia Laguna APS)