Turin, Italy: Struggle for dignity in the CIE immigration detention centre

On April 21st, tension broke out once again at the CIE (Centre of Identification and Expulsion) on Brunelleschi Street in Turin. At dawn, a migrant requested to be repatriated immediately, as soon as he learned that his father had died, thus he demanded to go back home. The authorities’ negative response triggered a hunger strike, carried out by his fellow inmates in solidarity.

Early in the afternoon, things heated up again, this time because of a question related to cigarettes’ distribution. At about 14.00, as a way of protest, the inmates in the Yellow, Red and Blue wings set fire to mattresses.

In the meantime, nearly 70 people gathered outside the CIE in solidarity with the inmates. Almost in all sections of the detention centre small groups of immigrants were climbing to the roof. Some of them set fire to clothes given by those that were still in the courtyard, while others were throwing plastic bottles filled with water at the cops. After almost two hours, at about 17.30, the inmates of the Yellow wing climbed up the roof and burned mattresses as well. Police responded with tear gases on this occasion, while the men of the Military Red Cross were firing with water cannons.

Inside, there were no head-to-head clashes, but from the outside you could smell the tear gas coming in waves and you could see the water spraying; luckily some of the supporters came up with the idea to throw the anti-acid medicines further away from the bars, to help the inmates resist the tear gas and the smoke. After long clashes, the gathering was transformed into a solidarity demo that first blocked the Monginevro Street and then the Mazzarello Street, which lead to the entrance of the detention centre. The police agents got nervous, started running and pushing the demonstrators, and then called another police bus in their support. Finally, only the inmates of the Yellow wing managed to maintain the resistance on the roof, while the protest march outside was coming to an end and the last firecrackers were already thrown.

At 22.00, four inmates were still on the roof of the Yellow wing, in a blind spot, and denied to come down in order to avoid the punishment of confinement in isolation.

On April 22nd, at 15.00, and after a night on the roof, the four immigrants decided to go back in the Yellow wing and join their fellow inmates. They did not suffer punitive confinement.

source: autistici.org/macerie