“La Police Avec Nous”
In March to Athens on 6 February 2012 at 21:55
Day 91-XVII, from Castelvolturno to Qualiano, 24 km.
Qualiano, February 6
We’ve returned to the known world. Here there’s just the trash and the general absence of hope. We know now that things could be a lot worse.
This is a northern suburb of Naples, and we shouldn’t be here. We were supposed to go to a tiny place called Zaccaria. But it turned out none of the locals had ever heard of it. So we walked on, arriving after dark in the nearest inhabited place we could find.
We were received by the police. Not with clubs and guns, but with pizza, pastries and wine. It caused a bit of embarassment among some of us, and hilarity among others. We were offered to stay in the aula for official events, and in the end we accepted.
For us as revolutionaries it’s a bit difficult to explain that we are guests of the police without there being bars between them and us. But we don’t worry too much about it. The pizza is good and outside it’s cold, menacing snow, and in such a situation we are easily corruptible as well.
In any case, it’s true that the police in Italy have a lot to complain about. Budget cuts mostly. When things are going bad economically, it’s natural for governments to cut spending on education and health care. But when spending on police is cut, things are going really bad. Part of the police officers have short term contacts. Part of the vehicles can’t be used because there is no money for fuel.
In the beginning of the march, so I heard, police were pretty invasive. They stopped the group almost every day to control identity papers. Then one day, the walkers decided they wouldn’t show them.
“Take us all away if necessary, or do whatever you need to do, but we won’t comply.” In the face of this collective refusal, the active officer called his superiors. Shortly after, the march could continue.
Police didn’t ask papers after that anymore. They are always helpful, but never before have they received us this way.
After we had installed our shopping carts, our sleeping bags and our field kitchen in the police aula, we also received a visit from the town council. They congratulated us briefly, and after witnessing a piece of our turbulent internal assembly, they left, wishing us good luck.