Tuesday, September 27News That Matters

Flares, grenades and tear gas thrown as Rome’s anti-lockdown protests continue

Violence broke out in Rome as anti-lockdown protesters threw flares and flash grenades at police, who fought back with tear gas and water cannons.

Supporters of the far-right party Forza Nuova (New Force) were largely among the crowd of a few hundred in Piazza del Popolo, one of Rome’s famous landmarks.

They were protesting against new COVID-19 restrictions, including a 6pm curfew for bars and restaurants and the closure of public gyms, cinemas and swimming pools.

 SENSITIVE MATERIAL. THIS IMAGE MAY OFFEND OR DISTURB Far right demonstrators clash with police during a protest over the restrictions put in place to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections in Rome, Italy October 27, 2020. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane
Image: Far right demonstrators clashed with police during the protest

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the measures on Sunday to try to slow a second wave of infections.

Scuffles broke out when the protesters, who were shouting “freedom, freedom,” lit coloured flares and threw bottles and paper bombs as they confronted police.

In response, police in riot gear moved in quickly to force protesters into the streets and the two sides battled for about 10 minutes before officers used tear gas to disperse the crowd.

It was the second night of violent unrest in Rome over COVID-19 measures.

More from Covid-19

The dramatic scenes had also been repeated over several nights in other parts of Italy, including in Turin and Milan, where protesters threw stones, fireworks and bottles.

But, while many of the demonstrators were extreme far-right supporters, large parts of the population were also against the government’s new rules – including business owners afraid they will not survive.

People clash with police as they protest against the government restriction measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in Rome, on October 27, 2020. - Thousands of Italian protesters angry over new restrictions announced to control the spread of coronavirus clashed with police in cities on October 26, 2020, following weekend demonstrations that saw violence in Italy, as European governments toughened their responses to the contagion. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP) (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP
Image: The protesters were against the new COVID restrictions

Mr Conte earlier stressed he made the right move as the health ministry reported a record 21,994 new cases on Tuesday and 221 deaths – the highest number in five months.

He also announced a €5bn (£4.5bn) package of support for businesses hit by the new restrictions, in an effort to balance the health impact of coronavirus with its devastating effect on the economy.

The measures include grants, tax breaks and additional funds for temporary lay-off schemes, government sources said.

In declaring the restrictions, Mr Conte said they were aimed at preventing a sweeping, strict nationwide lockdown.

 ROME, ITALY - OCTOBER 27: Police clashed with protesters in Rome who had gathered to denounce the latest set of restrictions introduced due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on October 27, 2020 in Rome, Italy. Some 200 people gathered at Piazza del Popolo and began to throw firecrackers and smoke bombs at police after they were ordered to disperse. (Photo by Elisabetta A. Villa/Getty Images)
Image: There was a 10 minute scuffle between protesters and police

“We can’t delude ourselves that with an epidemiological curve in continuous rise, people can safely go around, in gyms, in restaurants, without fear,” he said.

“If we follow these rules, we will have a chance to arrive in December with some serenity, without a national health service overstressed and exhausted.

”Otherwise, we would have to have a general lockdown, a scenario we want to avoid in any way possible and that we can’t afford.

“These measures are therefore necessary to protect our economic, productive and social system and to avoid to damage it beyond repair.”

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

World News – Breaking international news and headlines | Sky News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *