Threat to sabotage ESF

Urgent appeal from Italian coordinators of European Social Forum

Dear friends While we were positively closing all agreements with the local authorities and the local representative of the government in Florence, a very bad rumour appeared today in some newspapers. It seems the Italian government is planning to suspend the Schengen agreement's application during ESF week. Until now, there is no official confirmation of this. We have decided to start a very strong campaign in order to stop this decision before it becomes a reality. Today we interrupted the meeting with all local representatives in Florence, as a symbolic action, explaining it is impossible to go on with technical negotiations until we will know for sure what kind of scenario we will have in front of us. In parliament today several parliamentarians from different parties formally asked the government for an answer, and are planning other kinds of pressure. We are trying to organise a campaign at the level of the European parliament. We have asked the local authorities in Florence to come out clearly against this decision, and it seems they will do so. There has been a press conference today. In the next few days we will go ahead with a press campaign, and a specific campaign devoted to the citizens in Florence. And of course, we will go on with the preparation of the ESF! We need your support! We ask you to organise press conferences in your country to ask the Italian government not to take this decision. We ask you to send an official statement to the Italian government through the Italian embassies and consulates, organising - where possible- symbolic actions in front of the embassies. We ask you to involve intellectuals, politicians and prominent people to write appeals. We ask you to send statements by all the international networks and coalitions. Please send us copies of these statements. We believe it is possible to stop this decision. But we have a very, very short time. According to our information, this may become official at the end of this week. So we have to move quickly. Let's defend together our rights! A Europe without citizens' participation is a Europe without democracy. Thank you all very much. October 15 2002