“No to the Bridge of Lies”: a thousand demonstrators at Villa San Giovanni against the stable connection across the Strait


By John

More than a thousand demonstrators met this morning in Piazza Val Sesia, in Villa San Giovanni, to protest against the stable connection across the Strait. Coaches coming from all over Calabria and also from Sicily guaranteed a good participation in the demonstration organized by the activists of the Calabrian 'No bridge' committee. The event received the support of the CGIL and several leading figures in national politics.

“No to the bridge of lies” reads the banner that opens the procession, while the many signs that color the snake ask for more healthcare and more transport and the environment. The procession will parade through the city and then conclude its march on the Cannitello seafront, where a stage has been set up in the area where one of the pylons of the mega work should be built. Many committees were present at the event: from the historic one in Messina to the Calabrian one, which organized the event, and also the recently created one such as Ti tengo Stretto.

Many political, trade union and institutional leaders were present. From Angelo Bonelli of Green Europe a Sandro Ruotoloformer parliamentarian, and today candidate for the European Parliament with the Democratic Party like the former mayor of Riace Mimmo Lucano for the Verdi-SI Alliance, the mayors of Catanzaro, Nicola Fioritaand Villa San Giovanni Giusy Caminiti and the former mayor of Messina and environmentalist, Renato Accorinti. The mayor of the Municipality and Metropolitan City of Reggio Calabria is also expected, Giuseppe Falcomatà. The presence of the Five Star Movement is massive, with the parliamentarian Laura Orrico and the candidate for the European Parliament, the former president of the INPS Pasquale Tridico. The CGIL delegation with the Calabrian general secretary was also large Married Angel, Pino Gesmundo of the national secretariat and groups also coming from Messina and Sicily.

Among the demonstrators also a large delegation of inhabitants of Punta Faro in Sicily and Cannitello in Villa San Giovanni, the areas that will be expropriated. Incentives and generous compensation were promised for them. But they don't trust it. They fear that the territory in which they have always resided could be irreparably devastated by bulldozers to make room for the anchors and pillars of the bridge.

In the first official statements, many highlight that the only money for the Strait Bridge is, at the moment, that stolen from the Cohesion Fund of Calabria and Sicily. “They waste resources on an absolutely useless work – said Gesmundo – and the Government takes away resources, does not think about the young people of Southern Italy, about creating good jobs, or about meeting workers who find themselves in poverty.”

Aura Notariannilawyer from Messina and exponent of the Sicilian Committees against the Bridge, said that «it is a subscription for a class action is underway with which we will ask to put an end to the illicit conduct of the Ponte sull'Sretto company, disapplying the decree and transmitting the documents to the Constitutional Court. For this reason – he added – we call together all citizens who want to join this collective action to represent the interests of this land. And in particular to the citizens of Calabria, especially the citizens of Calabria.” There are approximately 450 families on both sides of the Strait – 300 Sicilian and 150 Calabrian – involved in the expropriations, for a total of 3.7 million square meters of land.