Fire Extinguisher-hurling Black Bloc Protester Arrested
Twenty four-year-old with criminal record for drug offences photographed throwing red cylinder in Piazza San Giovanni: �I was trying to put out a fire�.
ROME � Police officers have arrested the man who was photographed hurling a fire extinguisher in Piazza San Giovanni during the Black Bloc protests on Saturday 15 October. He is F.F., a 24-year-old student from Rome with a criminal record for drug offences. He is also known by the nickname �er pelliccia� [The Fur]. The photograph was picked up by hundreds of newspapers and websites around the world. A bare-chested F.F., with fairly long blondish hair and his face covered by a scarf, grabbed the extinguisher, emptied it and swung it in the air before hurling it at police officers. He was immortalised by a photographer from the ANSA news agency as he launched the red cylinder during Saturday afternoon�s clashes, which effectively broke up the peaceful protest march of at least 200,000 Indignati. The picture enabled police forensic scientists to identify the 24-year-old student, who was detained by officers from the DIGOS security police. F.F. is being held on charges of resistance with more than one aggravating circumstance.
DETAINED OUTSIDE HOME � F.F. was identified by police experts on Monday and detained outside his home by a squad of officers led by Lamberto Giannini. F.F. handed over to the arresting officers the clothes he was wearing at Saturday�s demonstration. When questioned, he attempted to justify his actions by claiming he had used the extinguisher to put out a fire. DIGOS officers searched his accommodation, having urgently obtained a warrant signed by deputy public prosecutor Tescaroli from the anti-terrorism pool of the Rome public prosecutor�s office, directed by public prosecutor Pietro Saviotti.
IDENTIFIED BY OFFICIAL � F.F. was also identified by an official at police headquarters who was near him on Saturday, standing in line with the extinguisher�s trajectory. Crucial to F.F.�s identification were the investigations of the regional forensic police secretariat and a number of witness statements.
TWELVE OTHER ARRESTS � This brings the total of arrests in Rome to 13, in addition to the 20 individuals detained in custody after the riots on Saturday 15 October. All those detained by police are less than 30 years old and six are minors. Two are women. Eight of the rioters have been reported. At the time of his arrest, one of the youths was wearing a gas mask to protect himself from tear gas while others were holding bottles or smoke bombs. Some of those arrested have criminal records for raids or violence at demonstrations: a 21-year-old anarchist from Lecce who is studying in Bologna, detained by DIGOS officers in Via Merulana on Saturday; a 22-year-old man previously reported for taking part in a rave party; two 18-year-old women and one 24-year-old woman from Rome, a 21-year-old man from Brindisi; and a 23-year-old man from Catania.
"My son Robert is not a black bloc"
The mother of the boy stopped in Rome during the demonstration on 15 October. Her name is Laura, she lives with her son in Italy since 1999. "That day he said: I�ll go there for a better future"
Robert Scarlat is still in Rome. He was ordered to leave Italy after the arrest during the demonstration of the indignant on Saturday, 15 October. Scarlat was presented up to now as the "black bloc Romanian", but the moved voice during the heart-rending story of his mother, Laura Scarlat, in Italy from ten years with her son , reports, however, a bit of humanity in the description of a fact that for a family is still a tragedy. Mrs. Scarlat never throws accusations, doesn�t shout about plot against her son but asks that also for her son the facts are examined and the truth is sought before coming to conclusions.
Robert Scarlat is accused of violence towards the workers and equipment of the State Police. The reconstruction of the facts disclosed by the police says that Scarlat was "chased and stopped by the agents and, in order to avoid identification, punched them and kicked them. One officer suffered a injury to the shoulder and to the foot with a 7-day prognosis, another suffered a trauma to a foot with a 20-day prognosis and another a fractured wrist with a prognosis of 25 days. "
Robert's mother does not understand, said that his son "weighs just 55 kilos, he don�t practice any sports, he has no precedent for violence and he has never fought with anyone," she finds it hard to believe that "the skinny kid could have hurt agents who stopped him, people that are protected and are able to defend themselves." Before going to the event she spoke with her son and he told her that he was going there with the best intentions, "he didn�t have helmets or weapons, he was not dressed in black, he had with him only a sandwich, a banana, a yogurt and his face ".
"My son Robert is here in Italy since 1999, for him and for I Italy is like a godmother. Here we found great people and great education. " Scarlat�s family arrived in our country through family reunification. Now, mother and son live in a very tidy apartment in a condominium in Oggiona Santo Stefano.
"My son was very good at school in the town, and he also really liked to cook with me� his mother tells, �so I decided to enrol him at the Institute De Filippi in Varese, to teach him a profession."
In recent years Robert Scarlat, who now has 21 years, has tried several times to work but has found only temporary and underpaid jobs. "He was always trying to do something� tells Mrs. Scarlat �He made flyers, worked for a library, has tried to work in the catering business. I've always taught that you have to get busy, you have to earn every penny of the pay you receive. But when he was fired for the umpteenth time he was losing hope, looked at me and said - 'Mom I did everything you told me, I worked hard . Why was I fired? �.
Robert Scarlat has a criminal record: he was arrested in 2009 for trespassing on private lands during a party and other times, the police found him with marijuana.
His mother lived with pain that time. �It happened. We mustered up courage together for dealing with that situation. But Robert is not bad. What he did is very serious but they can�t treat them as deadly sins. It was just little episodes. These do not make him a dangerous person.�
The Friday before the event, Robert Scarlat told his mother that he was leaving for Rome ; �He told me that it was a symbolical event promoted all over the world, on shouting hope to change things and so attending in was a moral duty for him. I was opposed� says his mother �I knew that he had precedents and he could not commit any mistakes. But he was at the same time so full of determination and hope that he felt the need to demonstrate his rights. �I was wrong, I should have prevented him from doing it.� During the clashes on Saturday , Laura Scarlat says she followed the event with her heart in her mouth : �looking at those cruel pictures I looked at the faces to see if they corresponded to my son�s face, and suddenly I saw him in a clip. It was on the ground surrounded by six policemen. I saw fear in his eyes, I saw a cry for help. Then the camera has taped more. I saw the world�s collapsing very shortly, I ran into his room to see if there were the same clothes that he wore in a clip. There were not.�
Then Rob�s mother said she has not received any news of him , �until Monday, when a lawyer called me. He told me that Robert refused to give him my telephone number, he was terrified by the thought of what the news could hurt me.�
But now Laura is terrified about the fact that her son could be packed off to Bucarest, from which they came ten years ago. �Robert doesn�t know anyone , he is not familiar with the language, he cannot have a future in that country, his real life is in Italy, his friends are here. I do not ask for a miracle, I just want the truth will be checked, and my son will be protected like any other people. I want the facts and his real responsibilities will be examined, and in the meantime his rights are respected. The thing I fear most is that he was being beaten. The thing I regret most the is not being able to make other people understand how my son is actually a good person. To not be able do anything for him that is my whole life.�