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The Times (London) March 21, 2006


By Richard Owen in Rome

Saturday 25 March 2006, by ps

"Inspector, keep me here with you or I’ll throw myself out the window.
What floor are we on? Fourth? Well, it’s almost standard practice:
I’ll jump! I’ll jump and when I’m lying down there dying, splattered
all over the pavement and giving the death-rattle. . . I’ll look up
and say — it was him, the inspector! He threw me out. Inspector
Bertozzo did! And I take a long time to die. I’m not fragile like the
anarchist." - From Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo

DARIO FO, the Nobel prize-winning Italian playwright, accused the
Milan authorities of "turning lies into history" yesterday after a
plaque recording the death of an anarchist — the subject of his most
famous play — was altered overnight.

The death of Giuseppe Pinelli at Milan police headquarters in December
1969 became a cause celebre and the subject of Fo’s play ACCIDENTAL

Pinelli died after falling from a fourth-floor window while being
interrogated by police three days after a bomb explosion that killed
sixteen people. The Left blamed Luigi Calabresi, then the Milan police
commander, for Pinelli’s death. A plaque put up by leftwingers
described Pinelli as an innocent man who had been killed.

However, Gabriele Albertini, the centre-right Mayor of Milan, who is
stepping down in May, said that he had ordered the plaque to be
replaced with an official one declaring that Pinelli had "died

Signor Albertini said that Calabresi — who was murdered in 1972 in an
apparent act of revenge by the far Left — had long ago been cleared
of any involvement. He had promised Calabresi’s widow, Gemma, that he
would alter the plaque before leaving office to "remove any stain of
the accusation of murder from her husband’s memory".

Gerardo D’Ambrosio, the judge who acquitted Calabresi of murder, said:

"Why do this now, shortly before the general election in April and the
local elections in May?" A week ago, a Milan election rally was marred
by violent clashes between far-left protesters and neo-Fascist
activists. Signor D’Ambrosio said that although the riots were not on
the scale of the street battles that formed the background to
Pinelli’s death, "history is unfortunately repeating itself".

Fo, who stood unsuccessfully in primaries to be the centre-left
mayoral candidate in the forthcoming Milan election, said that whether
the new plaque stayed was "up to us, the Left. If we can sleep in
peace it will stay. Otherwise not".

The playwright said that this was "not an incitement to revolt" and
that Pinelli’s death was "clearly the responsibility of those who
detained him in that room without any reason".

Bruno Ferrante, who defeated Fo to become the centre-left mayoral
candidate, said that he was "astonished that such an historically
sensitive decision could be taken without reference to the council as
a whole or the people of the city".

Yesterday anarchists stuck a piece of paper with the word "killed"
(ucciso) over the word "dead" (morto) on the new plaque and draped a
black and red anarchist flag over it.


On December 12, 1969, a Milan bomb killed 16 people and wounded 84.
Pinelli was held for three days before his death

Murder charges against Luigi Calabresi, the police commander, were

Three neo-Fascists were convicted in 2001 over the bombing; cleared
in 2004

Calabresi was shot dead in 1972

Adriano Sofri, of Far Left, was sentenced to 22 years for ordering
the killing. Now an author, he maintains his innocence

Dario Fo won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1997

View online : The Times (London) March 21, 2006