Turin, Milan, Trieste, Lecce, Viareggio, Pescara, Catania, Cremona… To the cry of “freedom! », Demonstrations against restrictive measures, sometimes punctuated by clashes and degradations, are increasing in Italy after the new decisions taken to stem the resurgence of the coronavirus.
From north to south, gatherings – of hundreds of people on average each time -, authorized or not, often starting from calls launched on social networks, are now daily in the cities of the peninsula. “The fuse lit three days ago in Piazza Plebiscito in Naples has already succeeded in spreading the fire from one end of Italy to the other”, the daily wrote on Tuesday. The Republic. “Italy in revolt. “
To respond to the resumption of the number of daily contaminations (around 25,000 on Tuesday), the government has imposed in recent days what the media qualify as “semi-containment”: a curfew in several large regions, the closure of bars and restaurants at 6 p.m., as well as that of the sports halls, cinema and concert hall.
Painful measures for a country which must experience its worst recession this year since World War II, but essential according to the government. He wants at all costs to avoid a new epidemic outbreak similar to the one that struck Lombardy in the spring, a rich northern region where the authorities had to call on the army to store the coffins. Italy, the third largest economy in the euro area, was then confined for two months, shutting down its economic activity and destroying more than half a million jobs.
Health emergency versus economic emergency
In this country where more than 37,000 people have died from Covid-19 since February, the health situation is once again alarming. “We are on the verge of collapse, containment is necessary,” warned the spokesperson for the Lombardy emergency services, Guido Bertolini, on Tuesday. Conversely, the demonstrators who have gathered for a few days in front of the headquarters of the presidencies of regions do not want to hear about reconfinement. “Freedom, freedom, freedom! “Chanted Monday night in the rain hundreds of people in Turin and Milan.
On the sidelines of these demonstrations bringing together students, restaurant owners, taxi drivers, representatives of the world of culture, trams have been vandalized, garbage cans set on fire, motorcycles overturned and luxury store windows stoned. Among the rioters, members of groups of “ultra” supporters and others close to the extreme right, often young.
Five billion euros in aid released
The national anti-mafia prosecutor, Federico Cafiero De Raho, accused on the radio the mafia movements on Monday of encouraging disorder, citing, about the demonstrations in Naples, “clear signs of criminal participation of the Camorra”, the mafia local. Same scenario Tuesday night in Rome where a few dozen activists from the far-right group Forza Nuova (FN) shouted at the Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, on the People’s Square. The police charged as the explosions of the first homemade firecrackers sounded and dispersed the crowd with the water cannon.
In the evening, the government announced the release of more than five billion euros to help the professional categories most affected by the restrictions. “By mid-November, all transfers will be made” on the accounts of the entrepreneurs concerned, assured the Minister of the Economy, Roberto Gualtieri, during a press conference.
Contagion by the new coronavirus is galloping, or even getting out of control, elsewhere in Europe, and other countries have already imposed a curfew or local re-containment, limited the opening hours of shops and mobility, but without knowing for the moment the angry movements seen in Italy. Germany was one of the first European countries to demonstrate, from mid-April, opposition to restrictive measures linked to Covid-19 even though this country has never experienced strict confinement. The demonstrations there gave rise to several outbursts testifying to radicalization.
In Spain, demonstrations have remained marginal and peaceful since the start of the pandemic, despite one of the strictest confinements in the world in the spring. They often bring together a few hundred people, like Monday evening in Barcelona against the nighttime curfew decreed on Sunday throughout Spain, with the exception of the Canary Islands.
Sporadic protests take place in Austria or Portugal, as well as in the United Kingdom. On Saturday, protesters denouncing “tyranny” gathered near Buckingham Palace before marching through central London.
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