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26 Feb, 2023 14:25

Thousands rally for peace in Italy

Demonstrators in the cities of Genoa and Milan are demanding an end to weapons supplies to Kiev

Several thousand people turned up for peace demonstrations in the Italian cities of Genoa and Milan on Saturday. Union members and left-wing activists claimed, among other things, that authorities in Rome have breached national law by sending weapons to Ukraine.

The rally in Genoa drew nearly 4,000 participants from across the country as well as from Switzerland and France, local media reported.

Organized by the Collective Autonomous Port Workers (CALP) group with the support of the Italian communist party, the protest took place under the slogan “Lower weapons, raise wages.

CALP’s Riccardo Rudino was cited in the media as saying that the “conflict in Ukraine did not begin last year” but rather “in 2014, with the massacre of the Russian-speaking population in Donbass.

The demonstrators filed through the port of Genoa, demanding an end to the use of the facility for arms shipments destined for Ukraine.

CALP spokesperson Jose Nivoi accused the Italian government of violating law 185 of 1990, which “imposed a ban on the import, export and transit of weapons from Italy to states at war.

The group’s representatives also described how they had been networking with like-minded “associations and activists in various European cities.

The procession went off without serious incidents, marred only by a few acts of vandalism at the hands of anarchists, who smeared and damaged several vehicles and broke windows in a bank.

A protest was also held on Saturday in Milan. Ruptly video news agency filmed several hundred people chanting slogans and waving flags, including those of Russia and the Donetsk People’s Republic. 

The demonstrations in Italy coincided with one in the German capital, Berlin. There, tens of thousands of people heeded the call of prominent Left Party politician Sahra Wagenknecht and author Alice Schwarzer.

Named the ‘Uprising for Peace,’ the protest called for peace talks to end hostilities in Ukraine. The participants also urged the German government to stop shipping weapons to Kiev.

Addressing her supporters, Wagenknecht criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government for allegedly trying to “ruin Russia,” and described Saturday’s protest as the start of a new peace movement in Germany.

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