INTRODUCTION: Angry Italian newspaper journalists threatened with redundancy turned out to greet President Sandro Pertini when he arrived in Milan on Monday (7 December) for the opening of the new opera season at the renowned La Scala theatre.
GV Crowd outside Palais de La Scala in Milan (2 shots)
GV President's offices in Milan
SV INTERIOR Workers representatives seated with President Sandro Pertini (2 shots)
SV Pertini replying and newsmen notetaking (3 shots)
SV Torchlight demonstration en route to La Scala (2 shots)
SV Demonstrators with banners outside La Scala (3 shots)
SV People entering La Scala (2 shots)
SV Pertini enters as demonstrators chant
GV Crowds outside La Scala
Background: INTRODUCTION: Angry Italian newspaper journalists threatened with redundancy turned out to greet President Sandro Pertini when he arrived in Milan on Monday (7 December) for the opening of the new opera season at the renowned La Scala theatre. The workers are employees of Italy's biggest publishing house, Rizzoli, which is considering closing many of its 41 publications.
SYNOPSIS: An estimated 5000 trade unionists gathered outside the Palais de La Scala as the Milanese opera house prepared to open it's new season with a performance of Wagner's Lohengrin. Their rally was timed to coincide with President Pertini's visit, and workers' representatives were granted an interview with the Italian leader at government offices in the city.
The Rizzoli firm owns some of Italy's most prestigious newspapers, including the daily Corriere Della Sera. The threatened journalists, who explained their grievances to the President, are not without industrial muscle. Journalists throughout Italy went on strike on November 12 and 13, in sympathy with the Rizzoli workers and there were no daily newspapers for two days. The journalists' union has made it clear that it sees the protest as broadly directed against a management attempt to disregard guarantees given to workers.
A smaller but no less militant crowd of journalists and printers arrived outside La Scala shortly before the first performance. They wanted guarantees for their jobs with Rizzoli. But the group has hit hard times. Its prestige suffered when it was discovered that several of the management and journalists were involved in the masonic lodge corruption scandal, known as P2. A spokesman for the protesters said that as they saw the first night at La Scala they could not forget that thousands of Milanese workers had lost their jobs.
The well-dressed first night audience appeared to incite the wrath of the demonstrators. But when the President arrived, he ignored the security men and riot police and plunged into the crowd to hear their complaints once more. No incidents were reported.