The Italian government has tightened security at its diplomatic missions around the world in response to “a crescendo of terrorist attacks” by an informal anarchist network acting in solidarity with an imprisoned Italian activist, the foreign minister said on Tuesday.
Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani cited nearly a dozen attacks since late November, ranging from vandalism to explosive devices that damaged Italian diplomatic targets in Argentina, Bolivia, Germany, Greece, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. No injuries were reported.
“It is obvious that there is international solidarity (among anarchists) and therefore an attack on Italy, on Italian institutions, is carried out across the world,” Tajani said, adding that security was tightened in all Italian embassies and consulates. as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Tajani said they believed the network included both Italians and anarchists from other countries acting in concert. He referred to graffiti scrawled in Catalan on the building housing the Italian consulate in Barcelona.
The most serious of the attacks was the firebombing of two cars at the residence of an Italian diplomat in Athens in early December – one car was set on fire, and Tajani said the failure of the second bomb targeting a car inside the garage of the residence and near a gas line avoided worse consequences.
The attacks as well as a series of demonstrations, including one scheduled for Tuesday in Madrid, are in solidarity with Alfredo Cospito, who has been on a hunger strike since October to protest against a strict prison regime reserved for terrorists and mafiosi. The 55-year-old activist is serving a 10-year sentence for shooting a state-controlled energy executive in the leg and 20 years for a series of dynamite attacks in Italy.
Last spring, a Turin appeals court toughened his conditions of detention to include solitary confinement except for one hour a day and a strict limitation on family visits. The regime is imposed on inmates considered dangerous even from inside the prison.
Interior Minister Matteo Piantedosi said the fact of the attacks only reinforced the regime’s necessity in Cospito’s case.
Cospito’s attorneys are currently appealing the strict terms.
In the meantime, Cospito has been transferred from Sardinia to a prison south of Milan, which Justice Minister Carlo Nordio said was best equipped to deal with the health problems associated with the hunger strike.
In Italy, anarchists set fire to cars belonging to the telecommunications company TIM on Monday, scrawling slogans nearby denouncing Cospito’s treatment. This weekend, a small group of his supporters clashed with police in Rome and two incendiary devices were thrown into the parking lot of a police station in the capital. No one was hurt.