ER Editor: We also recommend this piece by RT from yesterday for its largely video-based tweets, titled WATCH heated anti-lockdown protests erupt across Italy as crowds clash with riot police & smash up storefronts. Of note:
Chaotic demonstrations have ignited in several Italian cities, where throngs of protesters were seen fighting with law enforcement and ransacking businesses as they called for an end to the country’s sweeping coronavirus lockdown.
Protests were reported in at least five cities on Monday night, with physical clashes erupting in Turin and Milan, two of Northern Italy’s largest urban centers, the latter of which has been among the hardest hit by the pandemic.
Rallies were not confined to Northern Italy, however, as actions also kicked off as far south as Lecce and Naples, while a march was also seen in Treviso, some 15 miles (24km) north of Venice.
The protests got underway soon after the Italian government renewed nationwide lockdown measures on Sunday, imposing a 6pm curfew on bars and restaurants while shuttering public swimming pools, gyms and movie theaters. Some regions have also imposed their own curfews – including Lombardy and Piedmont, where Milan and Turin are located, respectively – citing what some health experts have deemed a “second wave” of the coronavirus outbreak.
While citizens largely complied with an initial round of shutdowns in the spring, the new measures stoked immediate backlash, as residents label the restrictions draconian and small businesses struggle to stay afloat, taking a beating during the first lockdown. In an effort to address their concerns, the government said it would present a relief package on Tuesday to support businesses harmed by the new policies, which will stay in force until at least November 24.
WATCH Italian police use water cannons, tear gas & stun grenades as they clash with anti-lockdown protesters in Rome
Police in Italy’s capital unleashed an arsenal of riot control weapons on crowds protesting a new round of coronavirus lockdown measures, blasting demonstrators with water cannons, tear gas and flash bang grenades.
A protest rally near Rome’s historic Piazza del Popolo square descended into violence on Tuesday night as several hundred demonstrators took to the streets to demand an end to new Covid-19 policies imposed over the weekend, which include a 6pm curfew for bars and restaurants and shutdown orders for public facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and movie theaters.
Footage obtained by RT’s video agency Ruptly showed police clad in heavy riot gear firing water cannons and other crowd munitions on activists, including deafening concussion grenades.
In other videos making the rounds on social media, protesters were seen returning fire with rocks, bottles and other makeshift projectiles as they braved water cannons and tear gas.
As with similar demonstrations that erupted across Italy on Monday, activists chanted “Liberta!” (“Freedom!”) as they called on the government to repeal the new lockdown, imposed amid a spike in coronavirus infections some health experts have deemed a “second wave” following a peak in the country’s outbreak last spring.
To date, Italy has tallied more than 564,000 infections and nearly 38,000 deaths, recording in excess of 17,000 new infections between Monday and Tuesday alone, and a record 21,000 the day prior. While fatalities have generally remained lower than the high-point seen over the spring, the country reported 221 new deaths on Tuesday, the highest daily death toll since May.