Lecce: Eviction of Canaglia Occupata

On Monday 3rd September Canaglia Occupata in Lecce was evicted. Police stormed the place at 6am along with the fire brigade and ENEL and municipal waterworks technicians, who cut off all electricity and water supplies. Three male and four female comrades who were in the building at the time of the eviction were charged with occupation, defacement and damaging of others’ property, as well as theft of electricity and water supplies. Three were also reported for breach of expulsion orders from Lecce and a comrade who managed to stay on the roof for a while (Digos officers had to use a ladder to reach him) was charged with resistance. Three more expulsion orders from Lecce for another three years were issued. The building was declared sequestrated.

The occupation took place on 23rd July, about a month after the Villa Matta squat was evicted. On social media right-wing groups of Lecce (Northern League, Forza Italia, Sentire Civico, Movimento e Libertà) are rejoicing at the brilliant police operation that restored respect for ‘sacred property’ – be it private or public – followed by cheers from those who have no scruples about calling us ‘parasites to be eliminated’.

Unfortunately for them, it is certainly not a physical place that gives content to our life and struggle; unfortunately for them, we’ll continue to be present in the city.

Leaflet distributed in Lecce:

It can be done

A month ago we occupied an ex-municipal dog pound on Via San Nicola in Lecce, and transformed it into part living space and part a social place of struggle.

For a few days some comedians of local politics (Northern League, Forza Italia, Sentire Civico, Movimento in Libertà) have repeatedly been demanding its eviction. Some more willing to talk big have also threatened to do it personally if the institutions don’t act quickly. But for the moment these have been words to the wind – how frightening!!!

They have very few pretexts for demanding ‘restitution to the community’ of a building that had been abandoned for about a year, as it was considered unfit for the use it was destined to. In fact, in the attempt to put the ‘good citizens’ against us, they have no other excuse than denouncing ‘illegal’ use of the building and basic services, which are allegedly harming the citizens of Lecce. Not only do we believe that these buffoons don’t give a damn for those who live in Lecce, but they don’t even have any real interest in the Canaglia occupation. They are simply using this argument to ride the wave of hatred unleashed by their hero, the minister Salvini, and reuse it Lecce-style in the attempt to climb the ladder of local politics.

For our part, we don’t have many words to dedicate to the brave avenger demanding enlightenment on the legality of our presence. The word ‘occupation’ contains the answer quite simply: Canaglia is an open space inhabited without permission – happily it is not the first nor the only one in Lecce – which continues to affirm the freedom of its choices, its opposition to institutional compromise and to the racket of the market.

Instead we’d rather talk about a society where to have a comfortable roof over one’s head is considered a luxury to be satisfied only if one’s wallet is well filled. For the others, those who have no saint or powerful to bow down to, there’s no choice other than to be content with an increasingly miserable life.

We’d rather talk about the number of evictions and cuts of services being inflicted on the whole of the city of Lecce and about why this doesn’t cause the – right – reaction of anger and struggle in those who are kicked out of their homes.

We’d rather talk about the speculation of the property market whose logic prefers to have a huge numbers of houses that could satisfy the needs of many closed down and left to rot.

We’d rather talk about the speculation of the tourist and entertainment industry, which sees so many young people exploited for little money in entertainment venues and which always makes the usual rapacious ones rich.

We’d rather point out how these Lecce characters are the miserable provincial followers of those currently in national government with a programme of aggression against anyone on the lowest step of the social ladder, by having recourse to the creation of constant emergencies: immigration, security, degradation, legality…

But the places and possibilities for meeting are becoming fewer and fewer. That is why we prefer to go straight to our needs and – among other things – occupy an abandoned building and turn it into a place in which to discuss and to organize ourselves against the society of money that we refuse.

Canaglia Occupata

Canaglia Occupata
via San Nicola 1, Lecce

Villa Matta Occupata
via San Nicola 1/C, Lecce