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Today is the 40th anniversary of the beginning of Italy’s “Years of Lead”.

On December the 12th 1969 a bomb blast ripped through a bank in Milan in the Piazza Fontana. In all – 16 people died and more than 100 were injured. It was the start of a campaign of shootings, explosions and kidnappings that was to last 10 years. Roberto Prina, a survivor of the Piazza Fontana explosion, recalled the horror of the aftermath. “I found myself in a silence of death,” he said. “You could not walk. Pieces of glass, blood, pieces of bodies… and I was moving here and there, in the middle of this massacre.” Memorial services are taking place across Italy as the nation remembers the so called “strategy of tension” as groups from the far-right and the left waged war on the streets. Twelve thousand seven hundred and seventy acts of terror. Eight bomb attacks, 342 dead, 5,390 wounded, 1,500 of them permanently injured. A neo-fascist group was later accused of attempting to dupe the public into believing the Fontana attacks were part of a communist insurgency but following numerous trials and appeals no-one was ever successfully prosecuted.
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