Thousands March in Mestre to “Take Back the City”

Over eighty organizations participated in the “Riprendiamoci la città” demonstration, which led a march of associations and businesses from the station to Piazza Ferretto to call for greater security after many recent criminal episodes in Mestre.

24 February 2023

By Maria Ducoli

A lively, varied, but especially a very well attended demonstration march. Young and old, children, and dogs on leashes, all part of a march dominated by placards bearing the names of unsafe streets – from via Piave to via Tasso to piazzetta San Francesco. Around eighty Venetian associations were part of the initiative.

The request is for greater efforts against drug dealing, improved urban security and for initiatives against decay. The demonstration “Riprendiamoci la città” (“Let’s take back the city”) moved through hot areas of Mestre, from the station on via Dante, where a stop is scheduled at the exact point where last June 19 Keoule Dembele, a 25-year-old from Mali, was run over and killed by a young man on drugs. After a brief remembrance the march set off again towards via Cavallotti, via Carducci, via Rosa, and finally piazza Ferretto.

Here, amongst the music played by the town band, the promoters read the document prepared by the associations. “We could have chosen a thousand paths, but this is representative of a shared feeling” explains Nicola Ianuale of the Via Piave Working Group.

There were thousands of citizens present, together with the associations, to show an example of civil resistance, which in the face of violence and decay has not lowered its head but, on the contrary, raised it, calling for greater institutional consideration and a change of direction. Among the demonstrators were also middle school and university students, the Bruno and Franchetti high schools and the Giulio Cesare lower secondary school. But there were also store owners, business and restaurant owners, many of whom are among the victims of the break-ins that certainly have not let the merchants in Mestre and Marghera sleep peacefully.

Each group that joined the march expressed the call for greater security in different ways. Victoria Scarpa of Marghera Libera e Pensante pointed to the need to restore the services that have been cut, which were once fundamental, such as those related to taking charge of social hardships. Prince Howlader of Giovani Per l’umanità focused on the need for responses. The march has united diverse generations and cultures, for whom the desire is the same and is stronger than any geographical or social origin: the safeguarding of a city in which its inhabitants have ceased to feel safe.

More than five thousand people arrived in Piazza Ferretto, where the associations’ document was read.

“We want a strengthening of the street social services, and of those that deal with the issue of drug addiction, which work in synergy with the schools”, they read. “We want a policy of urban regeneration and support for neighborhood stores in support of local businesses”.

An endless applause embraced the whole plaza. It is the chorus of a city that resists and exists and wants to continue to do so in complete safety, without being afraid to walk the streets at night, and without fearing for the condition in which they might find their store the next morning.

The only major absence today was the municipal administration.

Source: La Nuova di Venezia e Mestre

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