Italy, from July 8th - 11th.
a wonderful place in the middle of the alps more than 300 activists gathered
to know each other and share skills, experiences, ideas.
place that hosted the gathering is a resistance camp against the High Speed
Train (TAV) project, created back in 2005 after 90.000 people, mostly locals,
marched in the mountains, broke police cordons and took back their land
to oppose the destruction of these lovely mountains. A video of their struggle
was aired in the first night, and the emotion to be in such a fighting village
was intense. This was clear also from the general positive reaction of the
locals. While building the camp for AR2010 we had a lot of help with infrastructure
and other needs, and during the gathering itself everyone appreciated how
local food shops created "vegan only" corners and neighbours were
always smiling and nice. We even had the major of the town coming to the
reception asking if everything was alright and if we needed anything, and
he opened a private space to let us park all the cars!
gathering started on thursday the 8th with a 200 strong march in the city
centre of Torino, informing people about the horrors of vivisection and
specifically about the new campaign against Green Hill/Marshall farm in
Montichiari, Italy, breeders of beagles for vivisection labs like the notorious
HLS. After the march 3 buses have been filled with activists from so many
parts of the world and up we were at the camp for some vegan food, ready
to start the gathering itself.
gathering was full of workshops, all day long, covering almost all aspects
of activism and with a strong practical approach. we thought that apart
from sharing ideas it was really important to share skills and let people
come back home with new projects and new possibilities to help their groups
and campaigns. We also started for the first time what we called "drop-in
sessions" or mentoring, with a few activists available everyday to
give one-to-one advices on computer security, design, climbing
trees and civil disobedience actions. We all think this idea should be repeated
with more skill-sharing workshops and one-to-one moments in future gatherings.
of the main aspects covered by many workshops has been investigating animal
abuse. Grassroots activists recently took part in many investigations all
around Europe in different areas of abuse and with different aims or methods.
All their projects, experiences and technical improvement was shared during
the days of the gathering. Investigations undeniably had a serious impact
on industries and we really need to go deep analyzing and discussing them.
from appreciating some really nice italian vegan food there was time for
some fun too, of course, which every year helps to create stronger bonds
and friendships. The annual football world cup was won, of course, by one
of the two italian teams (without any cheating!).
the gathering is a lot of work, but is also a great experience and can give
some gratifications. We all hope these days were great and useful for all
the attending activists as they were for us.
you all in 2011!