Italy: anti-vaccine organizers arrested

The Italian police broke up the organization of an anti-vaccine march that foresaw violent actions against government agencies in six cities of that country. The particularity of the case is that the investigation was carried out under “antiterrorist” criteria and it was based on the tracking of messages by Telegram and social networks.

For the fact eight suspects were arrested accused of instigation to commit “crimes with connotations of violence against people and things” to “affirm beliefs” against the approval and use of vaccines against Covid-19, according to the Milan City Antiterrorist Prosecutor’s Office, north of Italy.

With this argument, during the last hours the police searched the homes of the eight anti-vaccine activists (in Italy known as “No-Vax”) and hijacked their computers to verify that from there messages had been sent on social networks about possible violent actions, also against the health passport.

There were raids in six cities

The group was presented in the Telegram application with the name “The Warriors”. Are five men and three women between the ages of 33 and 53, with no criminal record, and that they are part of the organization of the demonstration announced for this weekend in Rome.

Some reportedly called to get “knives” to use them in mobilization and it is even suspected that they intended to use homemade explosives.

The Milanese Antiterrorist Prosecutor’s Office ordered the search of homes in Milan, Rome, Bergamo, Reggio Emilia, Venice and Padua. The material found was taken as proof that the organizers showed “violent intentions” and, always according to the police.

Were found two pistols, a katana, bladed weapons and sticks and the chat analysis revealed that they were organizing a meeting to draw up a detailed action plan for next Saturday.

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They wanted to condition health policy

Everything would show that the activists They intended to “modify or condition government and institutional policy regarding the vaccination campaign” and act against “institutional objectives”, indicated the public ministry.

The Italian “No-Vax” starred in a wave of violent acts in recent weeks, with attacks and threats against journalists, scientists and politicians, which provoked strong social condemnation.

Supposedly, “Los Guerreros” incited the other members of the chat, some 200 people, to carry out violent actions against the Minister of Health, Roberto Esperanza.

History of threats to officials

In the last weeks, the Telegram groups that these violent groups use to call protests, were filled with threats which in some cases culminated in assaults, such as the one suffered by Matteo Bassetti, the director of the infectious diseases department at the San Martino Hospital in Genoa, or by various journalists.

Also, in a chat called “Enough dictatorship”, with the symbol of a swastika and with more than 40 thousand members, they proposed “to scare the government a little.” The Foreign Minister, Luigi di Maio, received messages with intimidating phrases: “We need lead”, “You have to die”.

On September 1, the day the vaccination certificate to access schools, trains, planes and ships came into force in Italy, they threatened to block more than 50 railway stations in the country, but a strong police and social mobilization caused them discouraged and the protests finally came to nothing.

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