Protests towards new coronavirus measures in Italy flip violent | Italy
Clash demonstrations in two cities across the country as daily COVID-19 cases keep new records on record.
Protests against new anti-coronavirus restrictions have broken out across Italy. Violence was reported in Turin and Milan in the north of the country.
On Monday evening, some protesters in Turin broke away from a peaceful demonstration, smashed shop windows, searched luxury shops and clashed with the police, who in return fired tear gas.
Molotov cocktails were thrown at police, who in turn used tear gas to restore order in Turin, capital of the affluent Piedmont region [Massimo Pinca/Reuters]Several hundred protesters gathered in Milan – the capital of Lombardy that was the epicenter of the global pandemic in March – at the regional government headquarters with some throwing stones, gasoline bombs and fireworks.
The protesters sang “Freedom, Freedom!”, The same slogan that protesters in the southern city of Napoli had used two days earlier.
According to the ANSA news agency, 28 people are arrested in Milan. Three police officers were injured in the clashes in the two cities.
At least 37,479 people have died of coronavirus in Italy since the pandemic began.
People took to the streets after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte introduced a new set of rules on Monday to curb the spread of the coronavirus. He announced the early closure of restaurants and pubs at 6 p.m. (5:00 p.m. GMT) and closed theaters, gyms and cinemas.
Most high schools have been ordered to offer online courses and a curfew has been imposed in some regions.
A police officer stands in front of a damaged window while people in Turin, Italy protest the new restrictions put in place to reduce the number of coronavirus cases [Massimo Pinca/Reuters]The harsh, but still partial, restrictions came as the government scrambled to avoid a nationwide lockdown like the measures implemented in March.
While Italians went through one of the toughest lockdowns in the world in the first wave with a sense of solidarity and compliance, the new measures have generated an angry response.
Entrepreneurs still recovering from the initial shutdown are upset by fears that business closings could drive them back into bankruptcy.
Taxi drivers, restaurant patrons, bar owners and people working in the cultural industry protested peacefully in several cities from north to south, including Viareggio, Trieste, Rome, Naples, Salerno, Palermo, Siracusa and Catania.
Shopkeepers Protest restrictive measures in Naples as new coronavirus cases set new records in Naples, Italy [Ciro De Luca/Reuters]To defuse the anger, Conte met protesters in Rome on Monday evening to assure them that money was on the way for business owners.
The government has pledged financial aid to workers and businesses affected by mandatory closings, and the relief measures were expected to be approved in a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.
“The main objective is to regain control of the epidemiological curve to avoid its steady rise from harming the effectiveness of our health sector and the resilience of the entire social and economic system,” Conte said in an open letter from the newspaper Tuesday Corriere della Sera.
Italy is experiencing a resurgence of coronavirus infections, reporting more than 21,200 cases on Sunday, the highest number since the pandemic began – twice as many as the previous week. As of Tuesday, 14,281 people had been hospitalized.