Italy condemns attacks abroad, 'street violence' at home

Anarchists have mobilised throughout Italy to protest what they say is the harsh prison treatment of 55-year-old anarchist Alfredo Cospito. PHOTO: P_M_1960/TWITTER

ROME – Italy’s government on Sunday denounced a series of attacks on its diplomatic missions in Europe, following protests at home over the fate of a jailed anarchist.

A government statement on Sunday said it was “following with concern and attention these new cases of violence against our officials and diplomatic representations”.

Anarchists have mobilised throughout Italy in recent weeks to protest what they say is the harsh prison treatment of 55-year-old anarchist Alfredo Cospito, on hunger strike since October and now in poor health.

“Such actions will not intimidate institutions,” the government said, without mentioning Cospito or any anarchist groups.

“Especially not if the aim is to have the harshest detention regime relaxed for those responsible for terrorist acts.”

Cospito was sentenced in 2014 to nearly 11 years in prison for shooting a nuclear power company executive in the knee.

He is also serving a 20-year sentence for setting off two explosive devices outside a police training barracks in 2006 where no one was injured.

Since April, he has been subject to Italy’s strictest prison detention regime usually reserved for top mafia members at a prison on the island of Sardinia.

On Friday, the windows of Italy’s consulate in Barcelona were broken and a wall damaged, while in Berlin, the car of an Italian diplomat was set on fire, according to Italy’s Foreign Ministry.

Graffiti scrawled on the wall in Barcelona called for Cospito’s liberation.

In December, in Greek capital Athens, anarchists claimed responsibility for an arson attack targeting two Italian diplomatic cars, saying they were staged in support of Cospito.

Sunday’s statement by the government of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni also cited “street violence” in Rome and Trento, where anarchists held protests against Cospito’s detention over the past week.

It also said a bullet had been sent to a newspaper editor in Tuscany and a Molotov cocktail thrown at a Rome police station. AFP

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