October 21–22, 1972 bombings in Italy

October 21–22, 1972 bombings in Italy

The October 21–22, 1972 bombings in Italy were nine terrorist attacks that took place during the night. The target of the attacks were a number of trains headed to Reggio Calabria, bringing workers to the city for the protest march scheduled for the next day. The attack was part of a larger set of bombings perpetrated by neo-fascist terrorists linked to the Movimento Sociale Italiano party and Ciccio Franco, leader of the revolt in Reggio Calabria sparked by the choice of Catanzaro as regional capital.[citation needed]


Political situation

In July 1970, after the decision from the Italian Government to make Catanzaro regional capital of Calabria, in Reggio Calabria a major strike begun, led by both leftists and right-wing workers unions.[citation needed]

After five days of rioting, the right-wing union CISNAL, led by Ciccio Franco, took the head of the revolt, turning it to a full scale war against police forces and the formerly allied leftist unions. Partito Comunista Italiano, the main leftist party of the country, dissociated itself from the protest after it turned violent.[citation needed]

On July 22, 1970, a train was bombed in Gioia Tauro, as a show of force by the neo-fascist rioters. The full scale war between Franco's City Committee and the government lasted seven months, with some casualties within Police and civilians. On February 4, 1971 a bomb was thrown at an antifascist rally in Catanzaro, to disrupt the peaceful march.[citation needed]

In February 1971, the revolt was suppressed by means of negotiations (the city was promised a new steel mill and 10 thousand jobs), and ultimately peace was restored, with the leaders charged of inciting violence. Franco had become senator.[citation needed]

Workers protest

The leftist unions, who abandoned the revolt after the first five days due to violence and exploitation by the neo-fascists, set up a workers march in Reggio on October 22, 1972 named Conferenza del Mezzogiorno, in order to show the city that workers from the whole country were supporting their requests but rejecting the means of violence.[1]

On a less evident level, the unions desire was to weaken the apparent influence of CISNAL and Ciccio Franco, demonstrating that the majority of workers were with them. For the first time in Italian unions history, a major national rally was held in southern Italy. The industrial powerhouse of the country was in the north, while the political hub is in the center, so the southern part was usually underrepresented in the unionist action.[2]

Twenty trains were chartered to bring workers from northern and central Italy, especially from the FIAT plant in Turin. One thousand shipbuilders from Genova Ansaldo shipyards booked a whole ship for their trip.[citation needed]


In order to impair the rally, right-wing terrorists placed bombs on the railway. The track in Cassino was bombed. Some trains were assaulted by people while crossing stations, some of them trying to join the protest, some trying to infiltrate the workers as agent provocateur. Taunts from some bystanders to the workers, as Roman salutes and insults, were a common occurrence during the trip.[citation needed]

In Priverno-Fossanova station, near Latina, a bomb blew up on a train coming from Bologna, causing only five injured. A new train was brought, and the workers continued their trip. A bomb was detonated on the stairs of the Palace of Justice of Latina. Two bombs exploded in Roccella Jonica, destroying two pylons of the telephone lines.[citation needed]

On the RomeReggio Calabria railway a bomb is detonated in the Valmontone station. After the explosion, police found another unexploded device at the entrance of the Palmi gallery. Between Lamezia Terme and San Pietro a Maida another bomb exploded damaging the railway track. Near Gioia Tauro, the town of the Freccia del Sud massacre, two explosive devices were found on the railway tracks.[citation needed]

Despite the bombings and the disruptions of rail service, over 40,000 people managed to reach Reggio Calabria. The unionist organizers were under great strain, fearing attacks or bombings on the march course, and were doubtful if marching was a sound thing to do after the attacks. Some workers begun the march autonomously, and were followed by the rest of the crowd. The parade received some stone throwing from provokers, but resisted responding to the violence.[2] Ultimately, the protest became a strong message to the city and a great blow to Franco's power, effectively closing an age of turmoil in the city.[citation needed]

In popular culture

Songwriter Giovanna Marini dedicated a song to the event, entitled I treni per Reggio Calabria [2]


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