Single-issue movements remain currently largely peaceful and within the boundaries of law

Environmental issues and animal rights remain the main themes of single-issue activism

In 2016, no attack related to single-issue terrorism occurred in EU Member States. Single-issue movements in the EU remained largely peaceful and within the boundaries of law, pursuing their goals via demonstrations and online activities. Nevertheless, a number of violent incidents linked to single-issue activism took place in several EU Member States. This is due to anarchist and left-wing extremist groups and individuals consistently attempting to impose their ideology and modus operandi in the single-issue arena. The role of extremists in single-issue movements varied: on some occasions, extremist groups constituted the actual movement; on others, single-issue movements marginalised radical elements.

In 2016, there were no thematic changes in the single-issue agenda, with environmental and animal rights subjects remaining the main themes. Activists opposed, among others, the construction of large infrastructure projects, animal testing, animal exploitation, nuclear energy and oil drilling. Modi operandi also remained unchanged: demonstrations were the predominant mode of action. In Belgium, for example, animal rights activists organised numerous protests against animal testing and slaughtering of animals without anaesthesia. Their acts were lawful with the exception of a few cases of trespassing in fur farms that aimed to record the conditions of the animals and denounce their abuse. In Germany, extremists sabotaged railways and cable connections related to the railway system. They also targeted a vehicle belonging to an electric power company related to open-cast mining.

In Italy, the movement opposing the construction and function of the Treno ad Alta Velocità (TAV) largely marginalised its anarchist elements and was comprised of left-wing groups operating under the umbrella of the Bussoleno Comitato di Lotta Popolare (People’s Struggle Committee) that promoted a less violent strategy. This led to a decrease in the number of unlawful actions against TAV-related infrastructure. However, anarchist extremists appeared to be willing to continue their violent activities without the support of the wider movement, embedding their opposition to the construction of the TAV in a broader anarchist agenda. An arson attack on a TAV building site in Bologna in January and another one on the railway traffic control system in Rome in May are assessed to be part of this campaign. The ‘No Tav’ movement has inspired the creation of a number of similar -issue initiatives in Italy, such as the No Grandi Navi, against the arrival of large cruise ships in Venice; the No Ponte, against the construction of a bridge over the Messina strait; and the No Ombrina, against the construction of offshore oil drilling platforms in the Adriatic Sea.