More prisoners reported dead after police repression of revolts in quarantined Italian jails

Italian police
Support us and go ad-free

Revolts have been taking place in prisons across Italy after the Italian state announced limitations on family visits. The riots broke out on 8 March, and have reportedly involved 6,000 prisoners at “facilities around the country”.

The state has said the restrictions, which includes bans, on family visits is part of its attempts to control the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Reuters:

Italian prisons are chronically overcrowded, which could make inmates and staff more vulnerable to the coronavirus contagion. They hold about 61,250 inmates, about 10,000 more than they were built to accommodate.

‘The only measures taken are to penalise’

According to a statement by an Italian anarchist group prior to the prison revolt:

We have been informed that no measures have been taken to prevent the epidemic [in prisons].

No sterilization of the environments, no spreading of hygiene rules, no temperature checks (and not even the self-declaration of having had contact with subjects at risk) by those who enter the institute, no screening of prisoners.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

All in a situation of chronic overcrowding where respect for the distance of one meter between one person and another is unimaginable.

The only measures taken are to further penalize the prisoners such as preventing the entrance of volunteers, the blocking of leave permits and the suspension or sharp reduction of visits with relatives.

Protests in at least 27 jails

Prisoner protests took place in at least 27 prisons across Italy and 50 prisoners escaped.

Prison guards were also reportedly taken hostage during the riots.

Prisoner deaths

On 10 March, Reuters reported that 12 prisoners had died since the start of the uprising.

But the death toll may now be higher. One commentator tweeted:

Police violence

One report from 8 March detailed what happened during a revolt in St Anna prison in Modena:

Towards the evening, in front of a large antiriot contingent, cops emerged escorting some of the prisoners, striking them while handcuffed; some were on stretchers.

Already around that time some had escorted a bag containing a dead body.

Demonstrations were held in solidarity with the prisoners. In Messina prisoner families reportedly blocked roads in protest.

At one prison in Rome protesters gathered in solidarity with the prison revolt. A banner draped over a police barricade read ‘Free them all’.

‘Free them all’

Prisoners in Milan climbed on the roof of the jail with a banner reading ‘indulto’, meaning ‘pardon’. They were calling for release as a response to the coronavirus crisis.

Their call was echoed in this statement from anarchists in Rome and Lazio:

We are for the abolition of all prisons, we consider them to be the bad conscience of society, the instrument used to avoid solving the social problems that result in the need to commit crimes in order to survive.

We consider it intolerable that, in an emergency situation which, in the name of defending against contagion, freedom of association and freedom of assembly are eliminated, that there are no measures to restore freedom to those who live in a situation of restriction and would be certain victims of an epidemic behind bars.

Featured image via euronews/YouTube

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us