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Milan, from November 19 to December 31, 1966.

- "Demonstration of Handcuffs".
- Death of Gennaro De Miranda.
- The merger of Mondo Beat, Onda Verde, Provos.
- "Demonstration of Flowers".
- Printing of the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine.
- The European Conference of Anarchist Youth.
- Hundreds of boys and girls from all walks of life and from all over Italy join the Mondo Beat Movement.



The day after Vittorio Di Russo was arrested by two plainclothes policemen in the underpasses of the Cordusio metro station while he distributed copies of Mondo Beat magazine, we decided to make a demonstration for his release. Thus, Mondo Beat contacted anarchists and radicals to get them to participate.
The three groups coordinated and on the morning of Sunday 27 staged a demonstration in the heart of Milan, Piazza San Babila. It was the first time a demonstration organized by extra-parliamentary groups took place in Italy. Called "Demonstration of Handcuffs" (Manifestazione delle Manette), it received a wide media coverage, the Milanese newspaper Il Giorno published article and pictures on the front page.


The Demonstration of Handcuffs was staged for Vittorio Di Russo's release from prison
Demonstration of Handcuffs. In the picture, Gianoberto Pinky Gallieri and Carlo De Paoli (sitting lower).

The Demonstration of Handcufffs was the first event staged by extra-parliamentary groups in Italy   La Notte invented the news that the Maoist communists also took part in the demonstration   Gianoberto Pinky Gallieri carried away by the police   Umberto Tiboni is pictured in one of the photos. After the time of Mondo Beat, Umberto Tiboni founded a distribution company for alternative publications
Demonstration of the Handcuffs. From left to right, photos and articles from Il Giorno, La Notte, Corriere della Sera, L'Unità.

The news of this demonstration spread and many youths from Turin and Genoa came to Milan to join those of Mondo Beat. As a result, the Mondo Beat Movement spread from Milan throughout the north-west of Italy, which was the most industrialized area of the Country.

On December 1, in the Milanese section of the radicals, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino were introduced to Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi. These two youths were of a group called "Onda Verde" (Green Wave). On that occasion, the four considered how to coordinate Onda Verde and Mondo Beat. To discuss it thoroughly, they met on 4 December, at Gianfranco Sanguinetti's home. On this occasion Melchiorre Gerbino explained how the young people of Mondo Beat, coming from all social classes and from every part of Italy, were characterized by the refusal to undergo wage work, to attend school, to live in the family. He said there were about 200, taking into account those who were in Florence to help after the flood and those who were in prison in Milan for not respecting the expulsion orders from the police.
Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi were youths who attended the last year of high school. Together with schoolmates, Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani, they had founded Onda Verde, a group of about twenty students engaged in non-violent provocations in schools, aimed at raising awareness on pacifism and ecology. They were well informed, as they were children of the most enlightened Milanese bourgeoisie, and were openly committed to the affirmation of civil rights in Italy. Obviously Melchiorre Gerbino could not propose to them to be absorbed by Mondo Beat, so he proposed a merger of the two groups, to be formalized in the next issue of Mondo Beat magazine. They found the agreement without unnecessary skirmishes and decided to meet in mid-December at Andrea Valcarenghi's home to ratify the merger. They had foreseen that this merger would have benefitted both groups, Mondo Beat, because prestigious articles by Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani would enrich the magazine, which would deepen its roots in schools, Onda Verde, because it would become part of a historic movement which occupied the squares and filled the prisons.

On 12 December we learned the terrible news of the death of Gennaro De Miranda

Gennaro De Miranda was among those who printed the first issue of Mondo Beat magazine
Gennaro De Miranda killed by a hit-and-run motorist.

Gennaro De Miranda's body was found in the outskirts of Milan, in the so-called Fossa dei Serpenti (Snake Pit) which was not far from Umberto Tiboni's apartment, where Gennaro De Miranda used to sleep. He was in fact walking at night to reach that apartment when he was hit by a car. The driver, instead of providing assistance, pushed the body into a ditch between two lanes.
When we learned of Gennaro's death, four of us went to the Cinisello Balsamo morgue to identify the body. In this sad circumstance Melchiorre Gerbino met a young journalist from the newspaper Il Giorno, Ezio Chiodini, who expressed his interest in following the events of the Mondo Beat Movement, so the two established contact with each other.

On the afternoon of December 15, a meeting was held at Andrea Valcarenghi's home to ratify the merger of Mondo Beat and Onda Verde. There was also a representative of the Provos from the anarchist section Sacco e Vanzetti, as they also wanted to join the merger.
To represent Onda Verde, there were Antonio Pilati, Gianfranco Sanguinetti, Marco Maria Sigiani and Andrea Valcarenghi, who delivered their articles to Melchiorre Gerbino for publication in Mondo Beat magazine.
For Mondo Beat, there were Gunilla Unger, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino.
For the Provos Sacco e Vanzetti, there was Giuseppe Pinelli, who suggested to stage a demonstration for celebrating the merger.
This merger would have had historical significance, because from the moment it took place, there would be only one libertarian movement in Milan, which would first be the beacon of the youth revolt in Italy, then one of the most important youth movements of the Sixties, because it would have opened the scenarios of the Contestation.

On the afternoon of Saturday 17 December, as suggested by Giuseppe Pinelli, an event organized and conducted by Pinelli himself took place. The participants gathered in Piazza Cordusio, from there they went to Piazza Duomo, where they performed a sit-in, and finally they went to the courtyard of the Police Headquarters, where they surrendered spontaneously.
This event, which was officially promoted for Vittorio Di Russo's release from prison, was very spectacular and received huge media coverage. It is remembered as "Demonstration of Flowers" (Manifestazione dei Fiori) because the participants offered flowers to the police.

Articles and photos from the Demonstration of Flowers

Giorgio Bocca was the only Italian journalist who immediately understood that youth uprising created epochal changes   The communists courted the Movement in an attempt to incorporate it   Il Giorno manifested sympathy for the pacifist movement Mondo Beat

Demonstration of the Flowers. Articles from left to right.
First article. "The provocation by the Provos" by Giorgio Bocca.
All the press wrote about the phenomenon of the youth uprising, but Giorgio Bocca was the only Italian intellectual who immediately understood how the youth uprising created epochal changes. Here is the translation of two excerpts from his article, namely the opening and closing of it:
(Opening of the article) " The common Italian smiles because of the long-haired young men and their girlfriends. But nevertheless, he listens to their speeches, accepts their ideas in whole or in part, begins to understand their motives..."
(Closing of the article) " It is not taken for granted that the Provo revolution will be totally successful, on the contrary, it is very likely that it will undergo regressions, but it has already changed our way of thinking, it is certainly much more important than many things we thought were important, when in reality they were dead. "

Second article. The communist daily L'Unità: "With a flower against the attacks of the police". The Communists were instrumentally in solidarity with the Movement, since it faced the Establishment, and they courted the Movement in an attempt to incorporate it.

Third article. The daily Il Giorno: "Let us arm the police with flowers". Il Giorno, a progressive newspaper, showed some sympathy for the Movement, since its most eminent journalist, Giorgio Bocca, understood that a beneficial wind was blowing from Mondo Beat to renew Italian society.


The Demonstration of Flowers was planned and led by Giuseppe Pinelli      The Sacco e Vanzetti Provos were Milanese high school students

Picture on the left. Demonstration of the Flowers. Sit-in Piazza Duomo.

Picture on the right. Demonstration of Flowers. Provos from Sacco e Vanzetti moving towards Piazza Duomo. The sign reads "Let's arm the police with flowers". These youths were all Milanese high school students and had Giuseppe Pinelli and Gianoberto Gallieri as references.
At this point, it is appropriate to speak of the mutation that traditional anarchists, like Giuseppe Pinelli, experienced in the 1960s. Prior to the 1960s, anarchists had resorted to violence as a systematic approach, but due to the wide youth participation in the Free Speech Movement, the Provo Movement, the Mondo Beat Movement, movements they appreciated, anarchists realized that people moved en masse if actions were non-violent and therefore they have conformed to nonviolence as a systematic approach to mobilizing the masses.

Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals of the time      Carlo De Paoli was one of Mondo Beat's most prominent young people

Picture on the left. Demonstration of Flowers. Roberto Pieraccini is where the arrested activist seems to be pointing his finger (Roberto Pieraccini is the one with hat, glasses, mustache). Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals of the time.

Picture on the right. Demonstration of Flowers. Carlo De Paoli offers a flower to a police officer who tries to lift Gianni Scarpelli off the ground. Gianni Scarpelli was the leader of the "Gruppo Palumbo". This group consisted of 6 people only, but they were famous because they were imaginative and audacious. The group was called Palumbo because they met in an apartment at the door of which it was written "Palumbo", that is, the family name of the previous tenant.

     The police intervention was not violent but at the Police Headquarters they imposed mandatory expulsion orders on those activists who were not resident in Milan.

Picture on the left. Demonstration of Flowers. Gianni Scarpelli forcibly lifted off the ground by a police officer.

Picture on the right. Demonstration of the Flowers. All the 6 Palumbos being lifted off the ground by the police. The police intervention was not violent but at the Police Headquarters they imposed mandatory expulsion orders on those activists who had not legal residence in Milan.

*

On the evening of 23 December 1966, Umberto Tiboni, Stefano Mondo and Melchiorre Gerbino went to the office where Umberto Tiboni worked, to clandestinely print the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine. In that office there was an electric mimeograph which printed dry sheets at high speed.
They had time to perform the job from the afternoon of the 23 until the early morning of the 27, when the office was closed for the Christmas holidays.
They had to do heavy work because they had to print 5,000 copies of an issue which consisted of 14 pages.
They worked all night of the 23 and all day of the 24, stopping every now and then just for a coffee and a sandwich. In the night between 24 and 25, Melchiorre Gerbino convinced Umberto Tiboni to load the mimeograph in his car and take it to the apartment where Gerbino lived, to work in a more comfortable situation and get help from Gunilla Unger. They did so and finished the job on the night of the 26th.
Meanwhile, on days 24, 25, 26, the European Conference of Anarchist Youth had taken place in the venue of the Sacco and Vanzetti section. The event, organized by Giuseppe Pinelli and Gianoberto Gallieri, brought together young people from different parts of Europe, many of them Spanish. The four of us, who printed the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine, didn't have time to participate.

The European Conference of Young Anarchists brought together youths from different countries, of which, after the Italians, the most numerous were Spanish     In those days, General Francisco Franco was the target of many anti-Fascist gatherings
Provos with a garrota against the Caudillo - A garrota was placed in front of the Spanish Consulate

At the end of the European Conference of Anarchist Youth, a demonstration was staged in front of the Spanish consulate, where a garrota was displayed in protest against the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

On the night of the 29, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino finished collating and stapling 5,200 copies of the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine. That same night Vittorio Di Russo rang the bell of their apartment and asked if he could hide there. He was arriving from Latina, his residence town, where he had been escorted by the police after being released from prison. Vittorio wanted to hide in Milan while a lawyer would have applied for the suspension of the expulsion order to which he was subjected. But, if in the meantime, the police had noticed him in Milan, he would have been arrested and sentenced to 3 months in prison. Such his critical situation.
Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger welcomed him warmly and assured him of their protection and help.
They could notice how he suffered a profound trauma due to the brutal treatment he had undergone at the Milan Police Headquarters before being sent to prison.

*

December 1966 marked the success of the Mondo Beat Movement. By the end of that month, hundreds of boys and girls, from all social classes and from all over Italy, had joined the Movement. Young people understood that Mondo Beat was promoting a real revolution, because it was above all an existential revolution, and many of them wanted to take part in it. Many fled their families to join the Beats.

(Various newspapers)
The moving story of a young thief who gave the Beats the rings he stole from hotels
By the end of December 1966, that is, a few weeks after its foundation, Mondo Beat had already transformed Italian society.

In the photos reproduced in these articles, the faces of the young people are sad because the photos were taken in police stations where they were in custody before being handed over to their parents or sent to prison.
One of these articles tells the moving story of a young thief who, arrested by the police and questioned about the rings he had stolen from several hotels, confessed to having donated them to the Beats.


History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 5