Per la libertà di movimento, per i diritti di cittadinanza

Gioia street in Trieste, a neglected welcoming space a couple of steps from the Silos

Today the building was opened to show the absurdity of keeping this space closed

An initiative to denounce a paradoxical and shameful situation. A few hundred metres from the Silos, where people live in inhuman and degrading conditions, there is a warm, dry building that has been abandoned for over 15 years. The connections to the electricity and water networks are ready to use, there are toilets and showers and dozens of rooms. The spaces to accommodate in Trieste are there, you just have to want it.

We want to demonstrate that finding a place to welcome migrants is possible even in Trieste, a frontier city that does not consider itself as such. Too often the doom of many of the abandoned buildings in town it’s been to become easy prey for speculation and we do not want this to ever be the case again.

We are all more or less directly aware of the living conditions experienced in the Silos, the abandoned building a few steps away from the train station that offers shelter to those arriving from the Balkan route. Hundreds of people tenaciously resist here in the mud, amongst rats and trash. We are also well aware of the local, regional and national authorities’ hostility towards people on the move and those that live in the streets alike.

Over the last five years the only measure taken to care for the homeless people living around Piazza Libertà was to set up four public toilets in its vicinities. At the same time though a few key places of care were shut down or locked: the help centre in the train station, an underpass that gave refuge to many against cold and rain and the grass areas around the statue of Sissi. Even the day assistance centre in Via Udine was closed for two years with the pretext of containing the Covid pandemic. What however hasn’t lacked were police rounds, identifications and fines for bivouac given to people in need. It is evident to us that those in charge of the city’s administration put the respectability and aesthetic pleasingness of the town before people’s primary needs and human rights.

In October 2022 the Municipality announced the opening of a dormitory with almost 100 beds in a building next to the Silos, in Via Flavio Gioia. It would have been the bear minimum. The idea though was abandoned just a few weeks later, due to the power games that followed the electoral win of the right wing parties. This clearly showed how there is no human decency left in the authoritarian fury of those who govern the town.

Trieste was hence deprived of a welcoming location, while there are still hundreds of buildings abandoned and unused. We visited the space in Via Gioia, we entered it and witnessed that unlike Silos it is warm, dry, with no rats and already connected to both the water supply network and the electricity grid. There are toilets and showers. There are tens of cubicles. We took videos and pictures of this venue, abandoned for more than fifteen years, to show everybody that in Trieste there could be welcoming places if there was the willingness to open them.

We think it unacceptable that a location such as this remains closed, even more so since it is a few meters away from the ruins of the Silos. A bit further away the city centre swallows the majority of the public investments, with the intent of transforming the town into a display more easily exploited by those controlling the tourism business. While the great gentrification plans advance (the lavish re-styling of the old harbour, the cable car project, malls, christmas lights and grandeur) there is an evident problem that the municipal council and the prefecture are ignoring, even though it is right under everybody’s nose.

Given all this, we ask for:
– the Via Gioia location to be open to give shelter to those in need.
– the municipality and prefecture to recognize the fact that this is a border town, taking actions to avoid abandoning people in state of need.

Let this shameful situation end. Freedom of movement and right to housing for all!