What Mimmo Rubio did and why he have got a h-24 police protection while was documenting step by step the dramatic growth of the contagion that in a few weeks made the city “red zone” off limits – Already threatened several times, he says: “People accuse me of tarnishing the name of the city”
OSSIGENO November 3rd 2020 – By Raffaella Della Morte – The serious intimidations that the journalist Mimmo Rubio received on October 16th and 19th 2020 in Arzano, a town of 33 thousand inhabitants in the metropolitan area of Naples where he lives, are the basis of the decision to guarantee his personal safety from the 22nd October 2020 with a fourth level police escort, an active protection measure that includes a bulletproof car and two armed officers (to learn more read Much mafia little news).
Rubio told Ossigeno that these latest two episodes led the Committee for Public Order and Safety of Naples to strengthen the protection measures already laid on for him in 2018 (read here). Mimmo Rubio, in fact, has long been the target of intimidation and threats, as editor of the Facebook page Arzano News which for years also reports the most unwelcome news on the political and administrative life of the town whose municipal council has been dissolved three times by central government for the proven infiltration of organized crime. The last time was in May 2019.
In October, day after day, Mimmo Rubio reported on Arzano News the alarming growth of Covid infections in the town, among citizens and individual immigrants in the hotspot. He pointed out as necessary measures those gradually adopted by the local health authority and by the Prefectural Commission that administers the Municipality, in the face of the substantial growth of infections that exceeded 200. Traders protested publicly against the restrictions.
In this climate, on the 21st October the Governor of the Campania Region, Vincenzo De Luca, declared Arzano a “red zone” due to the significant increase in coronavirus infections. The municipality on the outskirts of Naples was the first municipality in Campania to undergo a mini-lockdown to contain the second wave of Covid 19.
THE LATEST THREATS – The decision, which had been in the air for days, was met with many defensive protests from traders and inhabitants. Mimmo Rubio on his information page promptly described the moods and analysed the rapid development of an infection that had become unmanageable. Precisely for this reason many residents of Arzano, who felt that they were damaged by the measures took it out on Mimmo Rubio. “They associate me with the problems of the town”, commented Rubio.
THE FIRST EPISODE – The first attack following the protests against the mini-lockdown occurred on the 16th October 2020. The reporter was verbally attacked in the central square of Arzano while he was with the journalist Marilena Natale, who lives in Aversa and who lives under police protection since February 2017 due to threats from the Camorra crime syndicate. The two reporters were filming yet another protest against the mini-lockdown when a man, with previous convictions as he himself declares in the video shot by Marilena Natale (watch here), insults Rubio and reiterates his willingness to get another “30 years in prison” on his back. It appears that the man was annoyed because he had seen Mimmo Rubio talking to the Prefectural Commissioner of Arzano, considered by the demonstrators to be responsible for the shutdown of the town. The man also made threats against Marilena Natale who defended her colleague very firmly. The video of the attack was published on October 17th on the Facebook page of the journalist who also reports the story in a post and names the man, Martino Sergio. Both Mimmo Rubio and Marilena Natale made a formal complaint to the police.
THE SECOND EPISODE – The more serious threat to Mimmo Rubio happened three days later, Monday the 19th October 2020. A large group of people, including several with previous convictions, gathered in the square of Arzano and again protested against the mini-lockdown. They were on motorcycles and wearing full-face helmets. They stopped and began to rant against Mimmo Rubio who lives next to the Town Hall. Like fans in a stadium they chanted a string of insults at him. “Wimp”, “You don’t love your town”, with clear reference to the journalist’s reports they dislike. The reporter barricaded himself in the house and feared for his safety. (Look here)
ALARM – After this incident, journalists’ organizations and some politicians mobilized to urge more adequate protection measures for Mimmo Rubio. The Deputy Minister of the Interior, Matteo Mauri, on the phone, assured him of his maximum commitment. Senator Sandro Ruotolo, himself under police protection for several years after receiving death threats for his journalism, asked for the intervention of the Ministry of the Interior to protect Mimmo Rubio.
THE JOURNALIST – Mimmo Rubio told Ossigeno, “Here in Arzano they reproach me for being on the side of the institutions. They say I create bad publicity for my town. They say it is because I often write about the Camorra. They believe that my journalist colleague Giuseppe Bianco from the ‘Roma’ newspaper and I, with our articles, motivated the Parliamentary Anti-Mafia Commission to investigate infiltrations in the municipal administration, triggering the measures whereby the Town Council was then dissolved “.
THE COMMENT OF MARILENA NATALE – Marilena Natale, the journalist who shared with Mimmo Rubio the he threats of the 16th October 2020 in the square in Arzano, lives in a nearby town. She is satisfied with the protective measures adopted for the reporter and has issued the following statement to Ossigeno: “In Arzano and throughout Campania we are witnessing the suicide of the State. The economic crisis is not a justification. In that protest, in addition to the real traders, there were members of organized crime. In that square when he was attacked, Mimmo Rubio was next to me and I intervened to defend him. He’s a friend, but even if he was my worst enemy, I would have intervened anyway. Because I may not even share the opinions of a person, but I will defend him until death. What happened was very serious. For days I continued to receive attacks and insults from residents of Arzano on my social media. I am sorry to observe once again the lack of real solidarity among journalists. In that square, besides me, there were other journalists and none of them lifted a finger to defend Mimmo “. Marilena Natale also reported to Ossigeno that following the anti-Covid protests, the Prefectural Commissioner of the Municipality of Arzano also ended up with police protection.
PREVIOUS ATTACKS ON RUBIO – The Ossigeno Observatory has dealt in the past with the previous intimidations suffered by Mimmo Rubio. Already in 2018, some parliamentarians had interppeled the government to ask for the protection of Mimmo Rubio and Giuseppe Bianco. Following these and other interventions, in the summer of 2018 senior officers of the Carabinieri had a meeting with the two reporters and the Prefect of Naples ordered surveillance measures to protect their safety.