More than 40,000 left-wingers marched peacefully through the streets of Bologna at the end of a three-day congress on repression.
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Background: More than 40,000 left-wingers marched peacefully through the streets of Bologna at the end of a three-day congress on repression. The congress was organized by "Lotta Continua" (Permanent struggle) group in Bologna, a communist-run city and considered a "show-piece" of Communist organization, to point out the left-wingers disenchantment with the European communist parties which they accuse of having sold out to capitalism. Bologna was the scene of student rioting last spring and more than a dozen student leaders were arrested and are still being detained. Yesterday's cortege of students passed by the Bologna jail and slogans and chants were said inciting the jailed students "to escape" or demanding their liberation. A number of prominent French intellectuals including Jean-Paul Sartre and Roland Barthes has recently signed a petition asking for the release of the students and condemning Bologna as a repressive city.
Most youths in Italy are further to the left of the Communist party, which they claim has become more bourgeois than the capitalist parties and just as repressive. French students who attended the Congress reflected the "new philosophers" claims that the Western Communist parties contain elements of the Stalinism that make the russian brand of communism, with its gulags, so fearsome for many in the Western nations. In short, they claim that the Communist parties, would, if they came to power, rule with dictatorial means.
The students argued about the way to overcome the present systems of government. A military part feel that the only way is through violence and they condoned the extremist NAP or Red Brigades actions of setting bombs or shooting people. The vast majority of students, however, felt that the system cannot be changed though the use of violence. Meantime, Bologna's mayor, Renato Zangheri, beaming with satisfaction said that the lack of incidents during the weekend proved that Bologna was indeed a truly democratically run city and that its police force had not in any way provoked the students.
While the students were marching through the city, Catholics were holding a rally in the main square of Bologna, Piazza Maggiore, where cardinal Poma addressed the crowds, standing where students had been just a few hours before.