Far-left riots in support of jailed anarchist leader leave Turin in ruins

Rioters smashed shop windows, defaced holy sites, and sprayed graffiti across multiple buildings in the city

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke
Anarchists riot in Turin in solidarity with Alfredo Cospito and against the 41-bis prison regime on March 4, 2023. ANSA/TINO ROMANO

Far-left protestors wreaked havoc in the Italian city of Turin on Saturday as they demonstrated their support for jailed anarchist Alfredo Cospito by attacking police, smashing shop windows, and defacing the city’s buildings and memorials.

At least two police officers were injured in the riot, while 37 vandals were arrested, including some who had traveled from Germany and France, according to the Ansa news outlet.

The protest began on Piazza Solferino and soon turned violent as several hundred demonstrators marched through the city’s streets.

Footage of the riot shows scores of anarchists in balaclavas setting trash cans on fire, damaging traffic lights and road signs, smashing bus stop and car windows, and leaving graffiti daubed across a number of city buildings stretching for approximately a kilometer.

Police equipped with riot gear attempted to break up the demonstration with tear gas and a water cannon.

Paint was also thrown over the Pontifical Shrine of Our Lady of the Consolation, one of the city’s holiest landmarks.

The riot was in support of Alfredo Cospito, the convicted leader of the Informal Anarchist Federation (FAI) who has been on hunger strike in an Italian prison since October to protest the state invoking the Article 41-bis prison regime upon his incarceration.

The hard prison regime is usually reserved for convicted terrorists, mafia bosses, and drug traffickers where authorities suspect further illicit activities could be orchestrated by an individual from prison. It restricts the rights of an inmate by cutting off all communication with other prisoners, prohibiting the use of a telephone, banning prison visits, and prohibiting them from receiving parcels.

“I express my firmest condemnation for the acts of violence that took place in Turin,” said Lorenzo Fontana, the speaker of Italy’s lower house on Saturday evening. “To the police officers who were injured, to the citizens, and to those who have been affected by the vandalism of the demonstrators, I express my deepest solidarity and closeness.”

Chiara Appendino, former mayor of Turin, said of the riots, “This is not the manifestation of a thought, it is intolerable and uncivilized guerrilla warfare. My full solidarity is with the citizens who suffered it and with the injured policemen.”

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