The autonomist movement gathered itself around the free radio movement, such as Onda Rossa in Rome, Radio Alice in Bologna,Controradio in Firenze, Radio Sherwood in Padova, and other local radios, giving it a diffusion in the whole country. It also published several newspapers and magazines which were circulated nationally, above all Rosso in Milan, I Volsci in Rome, Autonomia in Padua and A/traversoin Bologna. It was a decentralized, localist network or "area" of movements, particularly strong in Rome, Milan, Padua and Bologna, but at its height in 1977 was also often present in small towns and villages where not even the Italian Communist Party (PCI) was present
There was also an armed tendency known as autonomia armata (armed autonomy).
People such as Oreste Scalzone, Franco Piperno, professor in Calabria University, Toni Negri in Padova or Franco Berardi, aka Bifo, at Radio Alice were the movement's most well-known figures. The movement became particularly active in March 1977, after the police in Bologna killed Francesco Lo Russo, a member of Lotta Continua. This event gave rise to a series of demonstrations in various parts of Italy. Bologna University and Rome La Sapienza University were occupied by students. On orders from Interior MinisterFrancesco Cossiga the carabinieri surrounded Bologna's university area. This repression met with some international protest, in particular from French philosophers Michel Foucault, Jean-Paul Sartre, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, who also denounced the Italian Communist Party's (PCI) opposition to the University occupation. The PCI was supporting at this time Eurocommunism and the historic compromise with the Christian Democrats.
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