La Dolce Vita: … Teargassed! Nevermind “I Vitelloni,” – Rome protesters demonstrate, and things get ugly, quick, in the Eternal City

Last Wednesday, the 14th of November, La Dolce Vita took to the streets. There were “anti-austerity” demonstrations in 87 Italian cities. 10,000 people reportedly marched in Rome, 3,000 in Florence. Some 150,000 all told. The protesters – students – who were contesting “il governo dei banchieri” (the rule of the bankers) were met with a display of paramilitary might, and a barrage of teargas and beatings that would have made Daryl Gates, LA’s infamous Chief of Police,  author of “Operation Hammer” and who made LA’s Police Force into an army – proud.

The picture above is a screenshot from one amateur video where we see teargas canisters falling from the Palace of Grace and Justice in Rome on the crowd of “ragazzi,” students and protesters … as they’re running… apparently away, from the conflagrations. The idea that a seat of Government – its legislative branch, in this case, might consider teargassing its own citizens a practical option, might seem troubling to some.

Several investigations are underway.

The results of the first investigation – by Italy’s forensic Carabinieri corp RACIS – was delivered on the 17th. The detectives concluded that what happened on Via Arenula Wednesday, is that only one teargas canister exploded and that it was shot from the ground and then bounced off (… our emphasis) the windows of the Palazzo di Giustizia (…) The report does not mention the fourth canister trail that we see falling from a window further down – at the 23 second mark of the film.

We post the links to two videos from La Repubblica, you can decide for yourselves.

The street battles are notoriously brutal in Italy’s cities, the toll in broken bones and ruined lives is high: we post a picture – and link to a video below – of Rome’s armed forces repeatedly hitting a demonstrator on the face and head with nite-sticks … while he’s on the ground.  (The father of the above-pictured demonstrator – who apparently does not share his son’s style of political discourse – was seen on TV arguing that his son should have been beaten worse, and should, in fact, be arrested!)


And then there’s the video of the Police-kick-to-the-face of the fallen demonstrator… which plays after a golden-hued advertisement for Fernet Branca, the after-dinner drink.

Italy is the Land of Great Art… Excellent Wine… Good Food, After Dinner Digestifs and Fellini’s “I Vitelloni” – this violence is truly disheartening… – it must be mentioned, that this footage isn’t played on the news channels much here, or abroad. 

The mood is tense, the reforms painful, the Police brutality in plain sight… it looks like the beginning of something and not the end. It’s going to be a waarm winter. … When the nite-stick hits your face like a big Pizza Pie, that’s … another day, another street-battle, in Italy’s embattled capital city… Roma! … the Eternal City.

Previously on Art is Life:

LA cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz lampoons the police state

Centurions scuffle with police… again. Life imitates art, …and art is flattered, simulacra secretly envies simulation but smiles. Truth is often stranger than fiction, especially when you’re a stranger… or a tourist in Rome – some stories you just can’t make up. SPQR: “Sono Pazzi Questi Romani!”

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