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Pitchfork movement organising ahead of new protests

Anti-austerity protesters to choose local representatives

02 January, 15:36
Pitchfork movement organising ahead of new protests (ANSA) - Turin, January 2 - Members of the anti-austerity Pitchfork Movement are to gather in the northern city of Verona on Saturday to elect regional and provincial representatives and decide their future course of action. The meeting aims to give greater form and force to the protest movement launched in December by farmers and truckers angry at government economic and social policy, and which has since attracted disparate elements from Italian society including some who have committed acts of violence.

"We are not a political party, we are an association that aims to protect citizens' rights and this is a battle that must be fought on the ground, not in Rome," said leader Lucio Chiavegato Thursday. Meanwhile divisions between moderates such as Chiavegato and right-wing elements, including members from the neo-Fascist CasaPound and Forza Nuova groups, deepened Thursday following a demonstration in Sicily called by bankrupt farmer with rightist sympathies Danilo Calvani outside regional headquarters in Palermo.

Moderate Sicilian leader Mariano Ferro described the demonstration as "ridiculous". Fear of violence and infiltration by right-wing elements has been blamed as one of the reasons for a poor showing of Pitchfork protesters at a Rome demonstration on December 18.