24 November

The International Conference of Rome for the Social Defence Against Anarchists, which took place between 24 November and 21 December 1898, agreed to a series of measures to clamp down on anarchist activities and propaganda.

November 24, 2009 · 1 min read

These included the establishment of new surveillance agencies; arrangements for the exchange of intelligence among participating countries; new laws on the possession and use of explosives; bans on membership of anarchist organisations and the distribution of anarchist publications; a prohibition on rendering assistance to anarchists; limits on press coverage of anarchist activities; and mandatory capital punishment for assassination of heads of state.

The conference was convened in response to a wave of anarchist violence, including the assassination of Empress Elisabeth of Austria at Lake Geneva on 10 September 1898. It also agreed to an early version of suspect ‘profiling’ – the ‘portrait parlé’ method of criminal identification, based on Alphonse Bertillon’s system of classifying criminal suspects according to physical characteristics of parts of their head and body.

Britain was the only participating country that refused to sign the conference’s final protocol.


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