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Milan, from November 19 to December 31, 1966.

- Vittorio Di Russo arrested, mistreated and imprisoned.
- Rally of Handcuffs (Manifestazione delle Manette).
- Death of Gennaro De Miranda.
- The merger Mondo Beat-Onda Verde-Provos Sacco e Vanzetti.
- Rally of Flowers (Manifestazione dei Fiori).
- Printing of the second issue of Mondo Beat magazine.
- The European Conference of Young Anarchists.
- Hundreds of boys and girls from all walks of life and from all over Italy join the Mondo Beat Movement.

On November 19, that is to say three days after the first issue of Mondo Beat magazine went into circulation, Vittorio Di Russo left his hiding and went to sell copies of the Magazine in the underground passages of Cordusio metro station. Then, two plainclothes policemen arrested him. He was jailed for a week in the police headquarters. This was an illegal procedure because, according the law of the time, after a maximum of three days of investigations, the police had to release the citizen or indict him and hand over the file to the judiciary, which had promptly to decide whether the citizen had to be in captivity or on the loose until the beginning of the trial. Nothing of this, regarding Vittorio Di Russo. Instead he suffered beatings and mental torture during a week, then he was taken to court, sentenced to one month in prison and jailed in San Vittore.

For Vittorio Di Russo this would be the end of his active participation in the Mondo Beat Movement
Vittorio Di Russo arrested, mistreated and imprisoned.

On November 20, that is to say the day after Vittorio Di Russo was arrest by the two plainclothes cops, Umberto Tiboni and Melchiorre Gerbino decided to organize a public manifestation for his release. So they alarmed the Mondo Beat's youths and contacted the Milanese anarchists and radicals.
Between November 21 and 26, the three groups coordinated and on the morning of Sunday 27 they staged a manifestation in in the heart of Milan, Piazza San Babila. It was the first time that in Italy happened a manifestation organized by extra-parliamentary groups. Called "Rally of Handcuffs", (Manifestazione delle Manette), it had a broad media coverage, the Milanese daily Il Giorno broke the news on the front page.

The Rally of Handcuffs was promoted for Vittorio Di Russo's release  from prison
Rally of Handcuffs. In the picture, Gian Oberto Pinky Gallieri and, seated, Carlo De Paoli

The Rally of Handcuffs 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 Rally   Gian Oberto Pinky Gallieri carried away by the police   In one of the photos, there is Umberto Tiboni. After the time of Mondo Beat, Umberto Tiboni founded a distribution company for alternative publications
Rally of Handcuffs. From left, photos and articles from the newspapers Il Giorno, La Notte, Corriere della Sera and L'Unità.

As the news of the Rally of Handcuffs spread, many youths from Turin and Genoa came to Milan to join Mondo Beat. As a result, the Movement spread from Milan to all north-western Italy, which was the most industrialized area in 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, two founders of "Onda Verde" (the Italian equivalent of the American "Green Wave"). On that occasion, the four considered how to coordinate Onda Verde with Mondo Beat. To discuss it fully, the four met again on December 4, in the home of Gianfranco Sanguinetti. On that occasion, Melchiorre Gerbino explained how the youths of Mondo Beat, who were from all social classes and all parts of Italy, were characterized by the refusal to live in the family, to attend school, to submit to wage labor. He explained how these boys and girls, who refused to live integrated, lived in an anarchist dimension created by themselves. He said that there were about 200 of them, taking into account those who were still busy in Florence, due to the flood, and those who were in prison for not complying with mandatory expulsion orders.
Gianfranco Sanguinetti and Andrea Valcarenghi were youths in the last year of high school. Together with their peers, Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani, they had founded Onda Verde, a group of about twenty students engaged in nonviolent provocations, aimed to awakening the mass of students to pay attention to the themes of pacifism and ecology. They were children of the most enlightened Milanese bourgeoisie and were committed to the affirmation of civil rights in Italy. Obviously, Gerbino could not offer them to be absorbed by Mondo Beat, so he proposed a merger of the two groups, which could have been formalized in the next issue of Mondo Beat magazine. They found the agreement without unnecessary skirmishes and decided for a meeting in mid-December at Andrea Valcarenghi's home, to ratify the merger. They had foreseen that the merger would have benefited both groups, Mondo Beat, because prestigious articles by Antonio Pilati and Marco Maria Sigiani would enrich the Magazine, which would have deepened its roots in schools, and would have benefited Onda Verde, who would have joined to a historic movement which occupied the squares and filled the prisons.

On December 12, 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 driver

The body of Gennaro De Miranda was found in the so called Fossa dei Serpenti (Snake Pit) in the outskirts of Milano, not far from Umberto Tiboni's apartment, where he used to sleep. Indeed, he was walking at night to reach that apartment, when he was hit by a car. The driver, instead of providing help, pushed Gennaro De Miranda's body in a ditch between two lanes.
When we learned of Gennaro's death, four of us went to the Cinisello Balsamo's morgue, to identify the body.
On this sad occasion, I met a young journalist, Ezio Chiodini, from the Il Giorno newspaper, who expressed his interest in following the events of the Mondo Beat Movement, so we kept in touch.

On the afternoon of December 15, a meeting was held at the home of Andrea Valcarenghi, to ratify the merger between Mondo Beat and Onda Verde. The Provos Sacco e Vanzetti also participated in the ceremony of the merger, as they had expressed desire to join.
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 the future issue of 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 public event to celebrate and strengthen the merger.
In fact, this merger was of historic importance, because from the moment it took place, there was only one libertarian movement in Milan, which would first become the beacon of youth uprising in Italy and then the most active youth movement in the Western world, as the Dutch Provo Movement and the American Free Speech Movement were in decline.

On Saturday afternoon, December 17th, as suggested by Giuseppe Pinelli, a demonstration took place in the center of Milan, organized and conducted by Pinelli himself. The participants gathered in Piazza Cordusio, from there they went to Piazza Duomo and finally to the police headquarters courtyard, where they spontaneously surrendered.
This event, which was officially held for the liberation of Vittorio Di Russo, was very spectacular and had enormous media coverage. It is remembered as "Rally of Flowers" (Manifestazione dei Fiori) because the participants in the rally offered flowers to the police.
Some articles and photos on the Rally of Flowers

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

Rally of Flowers. Articles, from the left.
First article. The communist daily L'Unità: "With a flower against the attacks of the police". The communists liked the Movement because it faced the Establishment and they courted the Movement in an attempt to incorporate it.

Second article. The daily Il Giorno: "Let us arm the police with flowers". Il Giorno, a newspaper from the progressive governmental area, manifested some sympathy for the Movement, above all because it was nonviolent.

Third article. "The provocation by the Provos" by Giorgio Bocca.
The whole press wrote a lot about the phenomenon of youth uprising, but Giorgio Bocca was the only Italian intellectual who immediately understood that the youth uprising created epochal changes. Giorgio Bocca was a famous journalist. Here is the translation of two excerpts from his article, namely opening and closing of it:
(Opening of the article) "The ordinary Italian smiles because of the young men with long hair and their girlfriends. However, he listens to their speeches, accepts their ideas in whole or in part, begins to understand their motivations and perspectives..."
(Closing of the article) "It is not given that the Provo revolution will be fully successful, on the contrary, it is very likely that it will undergo regressions, but it has already changed our way of thinking, for sure it is much more important than many things we believed were important, when in reality they were dead."

The Rally of Flowers was planned and led by Giuseppe Pinelli      The Provos Sacco and Vanzetti were Milanese high school boys

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

Picture on the right. Rally of Flowers, Provos Sacco e Vanzetti. The sign reads "Let us arm the police with flowers".

The Provos Sacco e Vanzetti were all Milanese high school students. They were all boys and "part-time revolutionaries", since they lived in the family and were busy at school. The situation was the same regarding the Onda Verde Group. In fact, only in Mondo Beat there were "full-time revolutionaries" and girls, so many girls that sometimes they were more numerous than boys. Besides these different characteristics, different was also the number of participants in each group, as the Provos were not more then 50, the Onda Verdes not more then 20, while the Beats were hundreds and their number was increasing and they would have been thousands. But the merger of the 3 groups was of a great importance, as in Onda Verde there were youths of great intellectual value, and the Provos Sacco e Vanzetti were influenced by Giuseppe Pinelli and other charismatic characters who strictly conformed to the traditional anarchist approach regarding social issues, with the only mutation of nonviolence. And at this point it is worth saying something about the mutation that traditional anarchists have had, due to the affirmation of the American Free Speech Movement, of the Dutch Provo movement, of the Italian Mondo Beat Movement. Before the rise of these 3 movements, the anarchists had resorted to violence as a systemic approach, but after the rise of these 3 movements, they would have realized that nonviolence was the right approach to mobilize the masses and they would have conformed to it. The last time they met, August 1968, Giuseppe Pinelli confided Melchiorre Gerbino that, to end with the dynamite they hid, after having smuggled it from Italy to France, the Italian anarchists, coordinated with the French, would have caused enormous explosions, but harmless, in some fields in the outskirts of Paris and this would have signed the start of the French May.

Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals of the time      Gianni Scarpelli was from the Palumbo Group

Picture on the left. Rally of Flowers. Roberto Pieraccini, a radical leader of early times, is on the left (hat, glasses, mustache). Roberto Pieraccini and Pietro Stoppani were the two most prominent Milanese radicals of the time.
Picture on the right. Rally of Flowers. Carlo De Paoli offers a flower to a policeman who tries to lift Gianni Scarpelli off the ground. Gianni Scarpelli was from the Palumbo Group. The Palumbo Group members were only 6, but they were very imaginative and able to draw attention to their actions.

The Palumbo Group was called by this name because the 6 of them met in an apartment in whose door was written "Palumbo", the name of the previous tenant      The police intervention was not violent but at the police headquarters they subjected to mandatory expulsion orders those activists who were not resident in Milan

Picture on the left. Rally of Flowers, "Gruppo Palumbo" raised by force. The Palumbo Group was called by this name because the 6 of them met in an apartment in whose door was written "Palumbo", the name of the previous tenant.
Picture on the right. Rally of Flowers, A police officer rises Gianni Scarpelli from the ground by force. 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.


The sad story of Gianni Scarpelli, the most prominent character of the Palumbo Group

Gianni Scarpelli's personal story is particularly sad. Among half a dozen youths from the Movement, trapped in Fernanda Pivano's literary salon, he was chosen to end up in a hashish affair that was invented to discredit the Beats. In 1967, when this happened, marijuana and hashish had not yet been introduced massively in Italy. He, and half a dozen others, were initiated into smoking hashish in Fernanda Pivano's literary salon in the purpose of making them inactive, in fact all of them had been among the most active youths in the Movement. Gianni Scarpelli had been the most active among the active and for this reason he was hated by those who hated the Movement and chosen to pay the highest price.
He was arrested and sentenced to prison, where he stayed 8 months, his case making a deafening media coverage: the first case in Italy of a person arrested for smoking hashish. In turn, Fernanda Pivano also had wide media coverage, as she obtained special permission for Scarpelli, that is to say, he was allowed to paint in his cell (Scarpelli was not a painter, but the Police headquarters and the Corriere della Sera insisted on describing him as a painter, so that Fernanda Pivano could make the news of obtaining special authorization for him to paint in his cell).
In the end, Gianni Scarpelli, who was a seller of used items, suddenly died some years later, but this is not surprising as many active youths from the Movement have died young.

Some years after the time of Mondo Beat, it was proved that Fernanda Pivano was a CIA agent and a collaborator of the Milan police headquarters      Gianni Scarpelli first imprisoned. Then murdered?
Gianni Scarpelli trapped by Fernanda Pivano and imprisoned for 8 months.

As this hashish affair was intended to throw a bad light on the Mondo Beat Movement, Melchiorre Gerbino intervened to take distance from it. He did it officially, as the director of Mondo Beat magazine, which at the time was already duly registered in the Court of Milan.

The fracture between Mondo Beat and the literary salon of Fernanda Pivano would become of public opinion
Beats but not drug addicts

The Corriere della Sera, in accordance with the press law, was obliged to publish this official note from Melchiorre Gerbino, in which it was declared that Mondo Beat was extraneous to that drug case. And from that moment, the fracture between Melchiorre Gerbino and Fernanda Pivano became of public opinion, because Melchiorre Gerbino would manifestly show rejection towards Fernanda Pivano and her salon.


Returning to the chronological reconstruction of the history of the Mondo Beat Movement, on the evening of December 23, 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 this office, there was an electric mimeograph that printed dry sheets at high speed. To do the work, they had time from the evening of the 23 until the dawn of the 27, which was the period when the office was closed for the Christmas holidays. They had to do a grueling work because they had to print 5,000 copies of this issue.
They worked all night of the 23 and all day 24, stopping every now and then, just for a coffee and a sandwich. On the night of the 24, Melchiorre Gerbino convinced Umberto Tiboni to load the mimeograph in his car and take it to the apartment where Gerbino lived, for working in a more comfortable situation and get help from Gunilla Unger. They did so and finished the work on the night of the 26.
Meanwhile, on the same days, 24, 25, 26, the European Conference of Young Anarchists had taken place in the facilities of the Sacco e Vanzetti section. The event, which was organized by Pinelli and Gallieri, was attended by youths who arrived from different parts of Europe, many from Spain. The four of us, who printed the second issue of the Magazine, did not 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 conference, the anarchists organized a demonstration in front of the Spanish Consulate, where they showed a garrota, to protest against the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

On the night of the 29th, Gunilla Unger and Melchiorre Gerbino finished stapling the 5,200 copies of this second issue of the Magazine. That same night, Vittorio Di Russo rang the bell of their door and asked if he could hide in their apartment. He had arrived from the city of Latina, where he had been escorted by the police, after being released from San Vittore prison, where he had spent a month in detention. Vittorio Di Russo was visibly worried, since if he was caught in Milan by the police, he would inevitably be sentenced to 3 months in prison. Melchiorre Gerbino and Gunilla Unger did their best to have him understand that he was safe in their apartment, but they could realize how Vittorio was unstable in his mind, as he suffered from a deep trauma, because of the brutal treatment he had undergone during a week in the Police headquarters, before being imprisoned.


December 1966 marked the success of the Mondo Beat Movement. By the end of that month, hundreds of boys and girls, from all over Italy and from all social classes, had joined the Movement. Youths understood that Mondo Beat promoted a real revolution, as it was, before anything else, a sexual revolution and they wanted to participate. Many fled their families to join the Movement.

(Various newspapers)
The moving story of a young thief who gave the Beats the rings he stole in hotels
By the end of December 1966, just 45 days after its founding, the Mondo Beat Movement had already changed Italian society.

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

History of Mondo Beat - Chapter 5