The Corner

Bringing Stability?

A degree of contingency planning  is predictable and probably wise. It doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be (much more) trouble than there already has been, nevertheless, this Guardian story does not make cheery reading:

Europe’s debt-mired southern rim is becoming increasingly concerned by the prospect of anarchy on the streets this summer, as seething anti-austerity threatens to boil over into something more sinister.

Protests, strikes and sit-ins have long since become the norm for Greece, Italy and Spain. But some authorities are warning that rage is on the verge of tipping over into serious violence, and concerns are mounting over the knock-on effect on tourism, a vital source of income for southern Europe.

In Italy, military, police and intelligence officials are hammering out an emergency security plan for combating violent anarchy in the wake of a recent spate of violent attacks on individuals and institutions.

“The risk of escalation exists,” said interior minister Annamaria Cancellieri, adding that the government was prepared to send out the armed forces to protect sensitive targets if necessary.

The Equitalia tax offices in charge of collecting unpaid debts seems to be taking the brunt of public anger. Laid-off Fiat factory workers recently occupied a tax office in Sicily, and protests outside the Naples office turned violent. Several petrol bombs were thrown against a tax office in Tuscany last week.

Last week a small but violent group of Greek and Italian anarchists claimed responsibility for kneecapping the head of Ansaldo Energia, a nuclear engineering firm owned by Finmeccanica. Roberto Adinolfi was shot in the leg as he left home for work last Monday. Authors of the letter claiming responsibility said they were the Olga cell of the Federazione Anarchiste Informale (FAI). The group said it was named after Olga Ikonomidou, one of eight anarchists jailed in Greece. They said there would be seven more attacks to avenge the jailing of the other activists…

… Athens, once one of Europe’s sleepiest capitals, now resembles a garrison town with riot police stationed on every corner. The police force is the only part of the public sector that is expanding…

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