This diary covers the latest informations which we have received. It also includes two first hand experience reports : one on the demonstration in London, 12th April written by Peter Cooper, of the British organisation for the European March; the other report, is written by Mich�le Prouzeau, a French activist, who joined the Italian march between the 14th and 20th April.
Spain / Valence / Mediterranean Marches - 22nd April
The march left Valence for Tarragone. There were a dozen permanent marchers and
100 marchers for that part of the march.
In Tarragone, the "generalitat" (regional government) welcomed the marchers, but the mayor refused to meet them.
There was a demonstration in the town.
Spain / Madrid / March coming from Tanger - 18th to 22nd April
In Madrid the European march joined in many different actions. They were received by demonstrators off to demonstrate outside a prison, to protest against the detention conditions of prisioners. The marchers then joined forces with another group to carry out a squat and later on, they joined yet another demonstration this time with over 1500 people.
After Madrid, the next stop was at Segovia, where two demonstrations had been organised: one in front of the equivalent to local Confederation of Spanish Industries, and once again, another demonstration to protest against the prison conditions.
Italy - week of the 14th to 20th April
There was a symbolic departure of the Italian marches in Crotone (at the extreme end of southern Italy) on the 14th April 1997. Symbolic, because unfortunately, there will be no marches from Italy this year, however a series of initiatives have been planned. A rally was held at the ENI chemical factory, a well-known popular symbol in the struggle for safeguarding jobs which has become very important over the last few years. There were representatives from all the ENI unions to confirm their particip�tion in a unified movement of chemical and metalligurical industries. This is being set up on 22nd May and is specially aimed to protect jobs. National representatives from other Italien organisations were also present at the rally, where they agreed to work together for the mobilisation to go to Amsterdam.
Naples - 15th April
About a hundred people took part in a public meeting. The March Committee "for the ...." is made up of the Sin Cobas, the PRC and all associations of the unemployed and those in precaire conditions of the region. Relations between these different groups in the surrounding area haven't been easy because people are very active on a local level. For example, in just one day, on the 16th April, the following action took place: the blockage of the Naples Railway Station by forming a humain chain, this demonstration brought together over a thousand people. They are now working in a joint effort for the European March. The unemployed of Naples would love to go the Amsterdam, but in Italy the minimum wage doesn't exist, so the cost of the trip is impossible without help from other outside organisations.
In Rome : two initiatives took place for the European March. The first initiative, on the 15th April, was to organise a reply to the Treu project. This was organised by the Young Communists of the PRC, and also made up of different political tendencies which attracted around 200 people. The second initiative, on the 22nd April, was a demonstration in Rome. In both demonstrations, there was a call for the first time for a massive demonstration of the unemployed, fixed for the 17th June in Rome.
In Florence, on the 16th April and in Livourne, on the 17th April, united public rallies took place. The Appeal for Amsterdam was made based on the list of demands drafted at the Brussels Assizes. In spite of a high level of grass roots activity in Livourne, the committe for the over-40 unemployed is relatively isolated from other groups and consequently, suffers from the effects of isolation.
London - April 12th
The start of the European marches was marked in Britain by a 20,000 strong March
for Social Justice in London. The march was supported by the Liverpool dockers
the Magnet strikers, the Hillingdon Hospital strikers, all of whom have been on
strike against dismissal for many months, together with disablement activist
groups, trade unionists, and left organisations.
50% of the demonstration was made up of supporters of Reclaim the Streets (RTS) an environmentalist action network which has played a prominent role in anti road building protests in recent years.
RTS has formed a firm alliance with the Liverpool dockers over
the last six months.
The march was organised by the London support group for the Liverpool
Such a march in the middle of a general election campaign is unprecedented in Britain and was designed to raise issues of social Justice which are being systematically ignored by all main political parties in the campaign.
The Liverpool dockers and the London Dockers support committee had previously enthusiastically agreed that the march would mark the start of the European Marches in Britain since the issues raised on both are the same.
Glenn Voris Secretary of the British Marches Committee spoke about the marches to the rally in Trafalgar Square (the traditional place for end of march rallies). Jeremy Corbyn MP, a member of the left Labour Socialist Campaign Group of MPs also spoke in support of the marches.
Euromarch supporters gave out thousands of leaflets to the demonstrators, many of whom who were previously unaware of the marches. Euromarch tee shirts also sold well.
In the week since the demo we have received many enquiries from people wishing to march. The London Euromarch committee and the London Dockers Support Committee have now merged to enable us to build the biggest possible mobilisation for the Euromarches in Britain. These are due to start in Preston in the North West 17 May, and Jarrow, the starting point of a famous "hunger march" in the 1930s, on 19 May.
The BBC's main TV news programme "Newsnight" carried a 10 minute item on the
marches, including interviews with leading supporters in Britain, and coverage is
beginning to pick up in the national press, despite and to a certain extent because
of the centrality of the European issue in the general election.
Extensive coverage has been given in the weekly "European" newspaper which this week carries accounts of the beginning of the marches in Ivalo, Finland, and Malaga in the Spanish State.