Thousands of protesters are flooding major Italian cities’ streets to rise against the anti-rave legislation. The new law – which could be passed by the end of the year – will see unauthorized party organizers face up to six years in prison and fines of €10,000.
Called Article 633 bis, the new statute aims to protect public health, safety, and order by banning unauthorized gatherings.
This prevents the occupation of an empty field for raves while allowing the surveillance of those suspected of organizing under-the-table events.
Promoted on social channels under the #SmashRepression hashtag, protests against the anti-rave laws took place in Florence, Bologna, Naples, Palermo, Rome, and Turin across the weekend.
Equipped with sound systems crews, speakers, and ‘Smash Repression 2022’ banners, the demonstrators fought for what they called Italy’s “microcosmos of free culture.”
A press release from protest organizers highlighted how free parties are anti-capitalism and self-management ways of being together.
“The anti-rave decree wants to affect our ability to aggregate, taming and making us functional at work, providing for interceptions and penalties. The search for pleasure and fun in sharing is a spontaneous and necessary condition of human existence.”
A draft version of the new law banned unauthorized gatherings of at least 50 people.
It was quickly slammed by activists, who pointed out that the rule is an infringement of protest rights and freedom of expression and is no longer part of the legislation.
The crackdown followed an illegal Halloween rave in Modena, when 3,000 people were evicted at the order of the right-wing government. Authorities have reportedly confiscated sound equipment valued at €150,000 and 14 individuals were placed under investigation.
According to an anonymous tip, more Smash Repression protests are planned in Italy for 2023.