Red Brigades: Decade of violence

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The Independent Online
The 1970s are known as Italy's Years of Lead - a reference not only to the bullets that flew with alarming regularity, but also to the oppressive atmosphere that weighed down the whole country. These are some of the key events of those years:

December 1969: Bomb destroys the Banca Nazionale dell'Agricoltura in Piazza Fontana in Milan, killing 16 people. Although initially blamed on the left, this was the work of right-wingers intended to scare restive factory workers out of launching a Communist revolution.

1974: Bomb kills eight at a demonstration in Brescia; later in the year a train bombing in a tunnel near Bologna kills 12 more. Both are the work of right-wingers.

1976: Red Brigades commit first murder, of Genoa state prosecutor Francesco Coco (right). Nearly 100 more killings follow over the next four years.

1978: Red Brigades kidnap Aldo Moro, architect of the stillborn `historic compromise' with the Communists, near his home and kill his bodyguards. After a tense 55 days, his corpse is found in the back of a car at a spot equidistant from the Rome headquarters of the Christian Democrat and the Communist parties.

1980: Right-wing bomb kills 85 at Bologna railway station. The same year, captured Red Brigades members begin to co-operate with the police, leading to the disbandment of the group and the end of the Years of Lead.