‘We were getting ready for bed and heard a huge crash. People were running, trying to get out. Then we saw dozens of robocops coming in with batons and helmets.
They systematically beat people. I tried to protect my partner Nicola by lying on top of her, but her wrist was still fractured by a blow. They beat me on the head and back.
They made us stand up and cut people’s hair, including Nicola’s. The sound of the knife stays with me. The school was a place of terror—there was blood on the walls, people were crying.
Seventy out of the 93 people in the school needed hospital treatment.
This brutal treatment continued at the Bolzanetto detention centre. They asked us all in Italian, “Who is your government?” The correct answer was “polizia”. They made people shout “Viva il Duce”—a reference to former fascist dictator Mussolini.
Tony Blair’s government backed Silvio Berlusconi and his deputy, Gianfranco Fini, to the hilt. But there were huge protests across Italy which resulted in us all getting released after a few days.
We then launched a legal campaign to get justice, that two years ago saw the prosecution of 15 police and prison police officers. This included high ranking officers.
The campaign meant that it wasn’t us doing five years in prison but police officers.’