Monday, 12 November 2007

politics not football

Just got home from having a beer & a pizza, and having come past the Stadio Olimpico on the way home in the car (just out of curiousity) thought I'd mention the scene there. At 12.20am the carabinieri were finally taking down the barriers which had blocked off the Ponte Duca d'Aosta, which anyone who has been to the stadium will remember as the large bridge leading to the 'Mussolini' obelisk at the southern end of the stadium.

Trouble started around 18h in the residential quarter on the other side of the river at the local headquarters of the squadra mobile (rapid response investigative police, who often deal with football related criminal activity). The crowd, variously estimated at from 200 to 1000 people, moved off when their initial siege was held off, rampaging around the area and finally crossing over to the stadium where they attacked the headquarters of CONI, the governing body for all sports in Italy. An incendiary device was thrown into the building, windows were smashed, vehicles and wheelie bins were overturned and set on fire, and according to some reports several hundred people broke into the building. Dozens of policemen and carabinieri have been treated for injuries of varying gravity.

It was, in essence, the pre- and post-match violence of a super fraught fixture, only without the match.

Driving past half an hour ago, the streets are littered with rubble and broken glass, wrenched up road signs and abandoned 2m metal poles used as weapons. Overturned bins lie in the road along with metal barriers. Fully armed riot police are still conspicuous by their presence. The whole area is lit up like an even less salubrious Blackpool - the stadium floodlights are on full, and as we drove northwards from the centre we ould say the whole area glowing a fierce white. The place was eerily empty of non-police. But it looked like a war zone.

Apparently this evening's shenanigans represent "solidarity between Roma and Lazio ultras" but I can barely bring myself to type that. I refuse to tag this post with the word 'football'.

This has nothing to do with the team I support.

This has nothing to do with football.

This is mob violence.

Now whatever sickness there is in Italian society which causes up to a thousand or more young people to violently riot around their own home city in response to the tragic death of a young man few of them knew, action needs to be taken to fix it. But this is a political and a social problem first and foremost. Don't pretend it has anything to do with sport.


Ross said...

This blog is one of the best on the Internet when it comes to football related incidents, and thoughts on Italian society in general.

Keep up the good work, I enjoy it :-)

Anonymous said...'d have to be very well remunerated to be a policeman (or woman) in Italy, unless you're crazy!

- Juventino

ursus arctos said...

And of course they are not well renumerated (or trained, or supervised), which is a major element in the profound social problem that Spangles refers too.

After Raciti died in Cagliari, it was reported that as a fairly senior officer of the caribineri, he was a base wage of something in the vicinity of 2000 euro a month. At least some of the baton wielding grunts in the front line will be making significantly less than that.

Stories are coming out this morning that the matches were played against the strong protests of the football authorities, who wanted the entire campionato suspended. So it seems at least someone in authority wanted to do the right thing.

ursus arctos said...

Just to add to my last post, it is now being reported that the average wage of a member of the Polizia Stradale is Euro 1300 a month, and that they still haven't been paid for the overtime they've put in over the last two years.

TrentToffee said... you point out, it has little to do with football. It's young unemployed (mostly) lads out for a rumble. The investigation into the shooting is going to make interesting reading.

Miss jane said...