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Oct 10, 2021
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Rebellious Rome

Violent protests are increasingly spreading across the cities of Italy. The real massacre took place on Saturday, October 9, in the center of Rome. Thousands of angry people took to the central streets of the capital, protesting against the government-imposed “green passes” – electronic covid certificates.

Mass protests in Rome

The main reason for the massive discontent is that from October 15, all Italians will be able to work only if they have COVID-19-passport – a document confirming the absence of coronavirus or the presence of immunity to it. A Covid passport can be obtained in three ways: by being vaccinated, providing a certificate of recently transferred Covid-19, or a negative coronavirus test. The restrictions are strict: the test result is only valid for 72 hours; workers who, after October 15, do not provide a “green pass”, will be suspended from work without pay, condemning them to poverty and hunger. And those who violate the new rules face a fine ranging from 600 to 1500 euros, as follows from the text of the government decree adopted on September 16.

Mass protests in Rome

Chanting slogans “No green passes! Freedom, freedom! ”, Protesters laid siege to the Chigi Palace, the seat of the government, on October 9, demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Mario Draghi.

Another crowd of protesters attempted to break into the headquarters of the Italian General Confederation of Labor, a trade union that supported the government’s restrictions. People knocked down the door of the central entrance of the building, threw firecrackers at the police, but were pushed back after the guards of the “new order” used water cannons and tear gas. Victims appeared on both sides, and several people were arrested.

General Secretary Maurizio Landini called the attack on the headquarters of the trade union an act of “fascist thugs” and “an attack on democracy and the world of work”. Only when you look at the photos of the events of October 9, you find yourself in the Eternal City of “fascist thugs”.

Mass protests in Rome

It was not only the Romans who rebelled. Demonstrations against the use of COVID certificates took place on Saturday evening in Milan, in other major cities.

Italian politicians of various orientations sided with the government. Prime Minister Mario Draghi strongly condemned the protests. “The right to express ideas can never escalate into acts of aggression and intimidation”, – uttered the prime minister. “Violence has no excuse, it is never a solution. Let’s not confuse the violence of multiple criminals with the reasonable requests of those who want to protect health, rights, freedom and work. “– proclaimed the leader of the “League” party Matteo Salvini. “What is happening is unacceptable.”– said the leader of the ruling Democratic Party, Enrico Letta. “These are not protesters, these are criminals”– said Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

Mass protests in Rome

The media write that protests against the introduction of covid certificates took place in more than 80 cities of the country. If in the first weeks these actions took place peacefully, now they cease to popular riots, as happened in Rome.

The authorities have introduced vaccination passports in the country, which must be presented in order to go outside, to visit public places. There are more and more restrictions. From August 6, all residents of Italy over the age of 12 are required to present a Covid certificate when visiting theaters, cinemas, museums, exhibitions, concerts, gyms and swimming pools, as well as indoor restaurants. From September 1, it became necessary to present the document for trips in long-distance transport. From October 15, all employees of both the private and public sectors are required to present such a certificate – or remain without work.

Mass protests in Rome

Some media outlets believe that neo-fascist forces can take advantage of the growing mass discontent of Italians. And indeed: the government, introducing one prohibitive measure after another, seems to open the way for these forces. There are several neo-fascist movements in Italy that are ready to enter the legal political level, the newspaper Repubblica wrote in the spring. One such force Forza Nuova, has already declared itself in Rome on October 9th.

Neo-Nazis in Italy raise my head

Republic emphasizes that neo-fascist political movements enjoy growing popular support. Fascism in Italy was not brought to trial in Nuremberg, there was no denazification in Italy either, images of Mussolini and symbols of fascism were never declared criminal. And in the current conditions, the rhetoric of the past can be revived. There is a fertile soil for this in Italy.

Riots in the country broke out last year, when protest demonstrations swept Rome, Naples, and crowds of Sicilians stormed supermarkets. However, can what happened in Rome last Saturday be reduced to “fascism”? After all, people are simply tired of all the new restrictions imposed by the authorities and do not see any sense in them.

October 15 is close. And if the government continues to insist on the version with the “fascist thugs”, there will be no civil peace or stable power in Italy.

Cover photo: REUTERS / Remo Casilli

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