Jasmina Tešanović: Report from anti-Berlusconi demonstration in Rome


(Guest-essay by Jasmina Tešanović, photos by protest participants.)

Italian people are at their best in a piazza. Yesterday, the international "No B day" was held all over the world, in public squares. The largest event happened in Rome in Piazza San Giovanni. For those few who don't understand, "No B" means No Berlusconi, the right-wing Italian prime minister who has been ruling Italy for the past two decades, undermining its brightest democratic traditions with his private and public scandals.

Only a couple of days ago, a protected mafia witness testified that Berlusconi was involved in mafia crimes. This latest allegation among many triggered many protestors to carry the banners: "no mafia in the state." However, the real hero of this manifestation was Berlusconi's ex wife, who a year or so ago denounced him as womanizer and a corruptor.

The organizers claim that they were one million participants in the Rome march, which ended in a big piazza where non politicians addressed the crowds. This country has too many parties without people and too many people without a party, said one of the participants.

"No Berlusconi" day was organized via internet, without political parties or partisan movements. The people on the streets were dressed in purple as a sign of protest, with many masks and disguises.

The king of commedia dell arte, Dario Fo (with his partner Franca Rame), the Nobel prize winner for literature, spoke from the stage to the people: witty and poignant as usual. This author won the Nobel for his political improvised tragic comedies on the mafia state, which has a long bloody history in democratic Italy.

In the meantime Berlusconi, living in denial as usual, was on a fast track train between Milan and Turin, triumphantly opening the route that will join the two power centers in northern Italy.

Riot police were all over the streets in Torino because of the soccer derby between Milan and Turin team and the voyage of its problematic president.

In many other cities of the world, like Berlin or Sydney, people gathered to protest against Berlusconi. These days, as in the days of Borgia or Caligula, Italy generates news for its mafia and sex scandals, not from a squalid underclass but from the very top. The people have to stand up in the piazza risking their lives for democracy, so dear to their hearts and temper.

But yesterday, nobody dead, nobody hurt, just a great carnival of political alternative: a good start.


Jasmina Tešanović is an author, filmmaker, and wandering thinker who shares her thoughts with BoingBoing from time to time. Email: politicalidiot at yahoo dot com. Her blog is here.

Previous essays by Jasmina Tešanović on BoingBoing:

On Marina Abramovic, a "grandmother of performance art"
The Murder of Natalya Estemirova.
Less Than Human
Earthquake in Italy
10 years after NATO bombings of Serbia
Made in Catalunya / Lou and Laurie
Dragan Dabic Defeats Radovan Karadzic
Who was Dragan David Dabic?
My neighbor Radovan Karadzic
The Day After / Kosovo
State of Emergency
Christmas in Serbia
Neonazism in Serbia
Korea - South, not North.
"I heard they are making a movie on her life."
Serbia and the Flames
Return to Srebenica
Sagmeister in Belgrade
What About the Russians?
Milan Martic sentenced in Hague
Mothers of Mass Graves
Hope for Serbia
Stelarc in Ritopek
Sarajevo Mon Amour
Killing Journalists
Where Did Our History Go?
Serbia Not Guilty of Genocide
Carnival of Ruritania
"Good Morning, Fascist Serbia!"
Faking Bombings
Dispatch from Amsterdam
Where are your Americans now?
Anna Politkovskaya Silenced
Slaughter in the Monastery
Mermaid's Trail
A Burial in Srebenica
Report from a concert by a Serbian war criminal
To Hague, to Hague
Preachers and Fascists, Out of My Panties
Floods and Bombs
Scorpions Trial, April 13
The Muslim Women
Belgrade: New Normality
Serbia: An Underworld Journey
Scorpions Trial, Day Three: March 15, 2006
Scorpions Trial, Day Two: March 14, 2006
Scorpions Trial, Day One: March 13, 2006
The Long Goodbye
Milosevic Arrives in Belgrade
Slobodan Milosevic Died
Milosevic Funeral


  1. “http://www.alexandria-press.com/bio/jasmina_tesanovic.htm” wandered away thinking, so that it gives a 404 error.

  2. @#1 The first picture doesn’t look at all like Rome. The house to the right as a distinct Middle European look to it. I would even go as far as betting that it’s in North-Western Germany or the Netherlands.

  3. RTFA

    In many other cities of the world, like Berlin or Sydney, people gathered to protest against Berlusconi.

  4. not a good start. not a start. more of the same.

    there are protests here in italy all the time. it is the same thing over and over again. everyone whines and complains a little, but in the end no one takes any action and no one makes any changes.

    there will never be any change here as long as the italian “lifestyle” is maintained for the people by those in power.

    now let’s go have a pizza.

  5. Er, I’m pretty certain that is Rome. I don’t recognize the street, but, having grown up there for the first 20 years of my life, the trees, walls, lampposts and doorways look very Roman to me. Of course, it could be elsewhere in Italy.

    I agree with jason123 that we have had protests like this all the time. If it’s one thing Italians (and other Europeans) are good at is protesting and marching. Heck, students still occupy their schools on a yearly basis in protest for one thing or another — it no longer means anything, given that it happens every year.

    I do object to this line, though: “The people have to stand up in the piazza risking their lives for democracy, so dear to their hearts and temper.” This isn’t some state controlled by the military and secret service. It’s a modern democracy and people don’t generally worry about risking their lives when they protest. Yes, there was that one kid killed ears ago during the G8 protests, but that was hardly an everyday occurrence… (I participated in a few hundred-thousand-person-strong protest the next week in Rome against the Italian police (“assassini”), that was itself aided by perfectly civil police).

  6. You state that Berlusconi has been ruling Italy for the past two decades. Have you forgotten the govenment of Romano Prodi during the 1990s?

  7. that’s great, it hopefully helps to show americans that italy isn’t the weird cia prosecuting socialst state projected by the media, and ppl can demonstrate freely against whatever they want without being run over by tanks just as with anti-gwb/blair/g20/teabagger/birther/whatever demos elsewhere.

  8. hey octopod,

    americans don’t think that italy is a weird cia prosecuting socialist state.

    and who cares?

    isn’t this supposed to be about Berlusconi!!!?

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