On 12 December 1969 a bomb exploded at a bank in the Piazza Fontana, Milan, killing 16 people and injuring scores more. Several anarchists were immediately arrested, and one, Giuseppe Pinelli, a 41-year-old railway worker, died after three days in police custody when he plummeted from a fourth-storey window. No charges were brought against the police. This was the event that inspired Dario Fo’s play, though there is no mention of Pinelli in it, and the events are fictional: the main characters instead are one Inspector Bertozzo and an unnamed ‘Maniac’. The nicely-judged irony of the title goes some way to explaining why Fo won the Nobel Prize: it is not Murder of an Anarchist but Accidental Death of an Anarchist. Pinelli was posthumously exonerated of the crime, which was later attributed to terrorists on the far right.
Behan, Tom: Dario Fo: Revolutionary Theatre (2000)
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