Voices, Sounds and Colors: A Splendid Procession to Save the Arneo Forest

The demonstration in defense of one of the last forests of Salento, threatened by the expansion project of Porsche’s Nardò Technical Center, took place on Saturday afternoon in Lecce. Numerous people responded to the forest’s cry for help, launched by the Guardians of the Arneo Forest Committee, organizer of the procession.

People of all ages marched through the streets of the center of Lecce (regional center of Salento, South-East of Italy), participating with enthusiasm and enthusiasm in a protest that turned into a celebration. Citizens, tired of living in a world that puts profit first, of short-sighted institutions that instead of serving the public interest defend the interests of multinationals, have taken to the streets not their anger, but their own principles and much beauty.

Fundamental in this sense was the contribution of the numerous international artists who donated their works as a sign of solidarity. Printed and transformed into posters, strong images that reach straight to the heart gave shape and color to the protest, capturing the attentive gaze of passers-by, who did not remain indifferent. The call to the arts was organized with the contribution of Free Home University. Prominent personalities in the contemporary art scene, who exhibit in museums such as the MoMa (NY), Reina Sofia (Madrid) or at the Venice Biennale, have responded from Amsterdam to Yogyakarta, from Vienna to Mexico: Oliver Ressler, Chto Delat, Taring Padi, Leone Contini, Luigi Coppola, among others, donated the works that paraded through the streets of Lecce.

The music and dances of the Murga Los Espositos, who arrived compactly from Naples, marked the rhythm of the parade, bringing joy and transmitting a message of hope. There could not have been a more appropriate dance: the steps that mimic the liberation from the chains, from the yoke of power, were a propitiatory rite, with a strong symbolic meaning.

The rally went on for four hours and brought together more than 500 people from many organizations. Eco-feminist and antiwar activists, socialist and reforestation initiatives, autonomous eco-farmers and refugees’ rights defenders. The procession arrival point was the Porsche’s NTC headquarters in Viale De Pietro, and it ended up as an intense and incisive hour-long sit-in.

As the Committee has underlined, there is nothing useful in cutting down 200 hectares of ancient forest and there are no possible compensations for such ecocide.

The organizers are fully satisfied and feel they have hit the mark: a network of territorial and international solidarity is being created that gives weight and resonance to this battle. A struggle that transcends borders and unites all those who believe that the climate, the landscape and the future are worth more than money.

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