Sunday, February 26, 2006

Civil Police in Trieste during the unrest

Photo shows: Italian policeman on streets of Trieste

During my stay in Trieste the Regiment quite often found itself working with the new local Police Force.
They had been equipped and largely trained by AMGOT (Allied Military Government of Occupied Territory) and part of their uniform was an American helmet painted white.
The Italians used to refer to the Police derisively as 'Cerinos' because with their white headress they resembled a safety match of that name.

My unit was also stationed for some time at Monfalcone, a few miles away from Trieste itself and for whatever reason this appeared to be the centre of demonstrations for or against the transfer of Trieste to Tito’s forces.

On one occasion A Squadron was providing manpower to back up the police force and I was able to witness an ingenious ploy they used to stop potential riots.

A Jeep, piled high with a small unit of perhaps six to eight officers, all armed with batons, reversed at speed into the centre of the mass of ‘rioters’. When they reached the core of the demonstration they all jumped out, lashed out with their clubs, grabbed what appeared to be the leader of the demo and, just as quickly, drove out using the gap they had previously created. !

It was violent certainly and blood must have been spilt but I had never before (or since) witnessed such an efficient way of calming things down.

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