The Corner

An Instrument of Stability?

Via the Daily Telegraph:

In the last six months there has been a wave of countrywide attacks on offices of Equitalia, the agency which handles tax collection [in Italy], with the most recent on Saturday night when a branch was hit with two petrol bombs.

 Staff have also expressed fears over their personal safety with increasing numbers calling in sick and with one unidentified employee telling Italian TV: “I have told my son not to say where I work or tell anyone what I do for a living.” In another incident last week Roberto Adinolfi a director with arms firm Finmeccanica was wounded by anarchists in Genoa. The group later said in a letter claiming responsibility that they would carry out further attacks.

Annamaria Cancellieri, the interior minister, said she was considering calling in the army in a bid to quell the rising social tensions.

“There have been several attacks on the offices of Equitalia in recent weeks. I want to remind people that attacking Equitalia is the equivalent of attacking the State,” she said in an interview with La Repubblica newspaper.

“Bringing in the army to defend sensitive targets is a possibility that we are studying. This has already been done in the past. We have a limited number of personnel available and so that is why using the army is a possible solution…“We are going through a very difficult moment and some people may feel tempted (to cause disturbances). We all need to have a sense of duty and ensure that this temptation does not spread.”

Saturday night’s attack took place on the Equitalia office in Livorno and the front of the building was left severely damaged by fire after the bombs exploded. The phrases “Thieves” and “Death to Equitalia” were sprayed onto outside walls. It came just 24 hours after more than 200 people had been involved in running battles with police outside a branch in Naples which left a dozen protesters and officers hurt. The attacks have escalated in the six months since Mario Monti took over from Silvio Berlusconi as prime minister and introduced a tough austerity package offcuts to public spending, pensions and tax hikes as the country tried to reign in its £1 trillion debt.

There has also been a striking increase in suicides with people leaving notes directly blaming Equitalia and tax demands…

In trying to justify the introduction of their speculative, poorly constructed, and dishonestly sold currency, the Brussels gang often (shamelessly, absurdly, tearfully) brandished the threat of revived European war, social disorder, and other horrors conjured up out of the continent’s past as bogeymen against which monetary union would be the best preemptive defense. That was a fantasy. The monsters now stirring in the chaos of the euro crisis may, unfortunately, turn out to be all too real.

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