The remembrance ceremony for the eight victims of the Piazza della Loggia massacre starts with the tolling of eight bells. 49 years ago today, eight people died and 102 were injured in Brescia’s Piazza Loggia when a bomb exploded.
At 10.12 on 28th May 1974 a bomb exploded while an anti-fascist demonstration called by the trade unions was in progress.
A long round of applause greeted Franco Castrezzati, the trade unionist who was speaking on the stage in Piazza della Loggia at the time the bomb exploded. In a wheelchair and marked by age, he wanted to be present again this year.
The Italian President, Sergio Mattarella, recalls the Piazza della Loggia massacre as a root memory of the future.
“Eight people killed. Over a hundred wounded. The city of Brescia devastated. The wounded Republic. So much innocent blood was shed on the morning of May 28, 1974 in Piazza della Loggia by the strategists of terror and their ruthless executors to destabilise democracy, attack the State. The subversive plans of neo-fascist terrorism were thwarted and thwarted, in fidelity to constitutional principles.
“The protagonists were the Italian people, the political and trade union forces, the cultural and social expressions, who knew how to react through democratic participation. The sentences managed to reconstruct the circumstances and responsibilities of the Brescia attack, highlighting its matrix and its links with right-wing subversion.
“On the day of the anniversary, feelings of closeness and solidarity are directed primarily to the families and descendants of those who lost their lives, to their friends and workmates. To the Brescia community. The country owes a debt of gratitude to the city of Brescia, hit for demonstrating its irreducible opposition to subversion. The national community is aware of how close the connection between democracy and justice is and for this reason it feels like expressing gratitude to those who have poured into civil commitment – such as the Association of Victims’ Relatives – the immense personal pain suffered. Memory is the root of the future. This is why today’s remembrance is a message especially for the younger generations.”
Hearing of Roberto Zorzi – alleged perpetrator of Piazza della Loggia massacre
The president of the Senate, Ignazio La Russa, also sent a message of remembrance. “The Piazza della Loggia massacre is one of the darkest pages in Italian history, a deep wound inflicted on our Republic. But we also keep the memory of this sad page of the strong reaction of the national community. A proud reaction that led to the defeat of those who aimed to undermine democracy through the strategy of terror. My respectful thoughts go to the innocent victims of the massacre and to the many who still bear its wounds today”.
The 49th anniversary comes a few days after the State Attorney’s Office decided to appeal to the Supreme Court against the decision of the Brescia judge Federica Brugnara. The Brugnara ruling sets to exclude the Presidency of the Council of Ministers from the civil parties in the preliminary hearing against Roberto Zorzi, considered one of the alleged perpetrators of the Piazza Loggia massacre.
The adjournment is until June 15th but the case risks paralysing the proceedings.
“Since the government is very keen to be there, I hope that the Cassation sets the hearing by 15 June. Mine is an appeal. After 50 years there is not much more time to lose” said Manlio Milani, president of the Casa of the Memory of Brescia.
“We must act quickly, but also well to guarantee everyone”, said the president of the Brescia Court of Appeal Claudio Castelli present in the square with the heads of Brescia justice.