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Monday, May 2, 2022

Rome: the thrill of the (righteous) protest

We were curious about the police sirens and commotion about a block from us 2 days after we arrived in our Rome neighborhood--Aurelia Nord--this year, as we were coming home from our morning caffe' coffee ritual. I thought Bill was ambulance chasing, but it turned out his nose for news was right. A trio of protestors was in front of an Eni Energy store on Viale degli Ammiragli (Eni is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies). Two held banners, one saying "Don't turns us into fossils. Join us!" and the other saying "Last Generation" (translations from Italian, mine).  A third was recording the sit-down on her phone. 

The 10 or so police let this go on for a while (the woman holding the "last generation banner" kept up a loud, non-stop anti-fossil-fuel diatribe [she was amazingly good at that]), then took the phone of the woman recording, took the banners and folded them up neatly, and then started taking away the 3 protestors, who went limp in their non-violent action.

Protestor Ugo Rossi being dragged by
police and protestor Laura Zorzini lying down.

The newspaper reports the next day seemed to describe a different event. They spoke of broken windows (we did not see any - but there could have been some - and the photo in the paper was from a different protest months before), violence ("I violenti" - violent persons), and panic in the neighborhood. Well, no - just people like us standing around looking - until the largest policeman pointed at Bill's camera (Bill was taking these photos) and we hightailed it out of there. It seemed to us the news media wasn't at the event and simply parroted the police report.

We have since learned that "Ultima Generazione" is the name of an action organization, And that the outspoken, well-spoken young woman is Laura Zorzini, a 27 year-old from Trieste who is known as the Italian Greta Thunberg. She's been arrested multiple times, engaged in many protests, and been on a hunger strike.  In this case the 3 were held overnight and then released (as we would say, probably "on their own recognizance").

Laura Zorzoni, the non-stop talker and Greta Thunberg of Italy, holding the yellow "Ultimata Generazione" sign. The third protestor is shown filming, while the police - at that point - look on passively.

Never a dull moment in the Rome neighborhoods.


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