International

Covid: Protests erupt across Italy over anti-virus measures

Protesters spilled into the streets shortly after the measures came into force

Violent protests broke out across Italy on Monday over new restrictions to curb the country’s second wave of Covid.

Clashes were reported in several major cities – including Turin, where petrol bombs were thrown at officers.

In Milan tear gas was used to disperse protesters, while violence was also reported in Naples.

The demonstrations began soon after the national government’s order to close restaurants, bars, gyms and cinemas came into effect at 18:00 local time.

Many regions have also imposed night-time curfews – including Lombardy, where Milan is, and Piedmont, where Turin is.

Protests took place in about a dozen other cities, including Rome, Genoa, Palermo and Trieste.

While an initial national lockdown earlier this year was complied with peacefully, the announcement of renewed measures has been met with immediate pushback.

Small businesses argue that they are still recovering from that first lockdown, and that more restrictions could bankrupt them.

A number of luxury stores in central Turin, including a Gucci boutique, were ransacked by crowds that spilled into the streets after the rules came into force.

Demonstrators let off firecrackers and lit flares, while police in riot gear responded with tear gas.

In Milan, crowds chanted “Freedom, freedom, freedom!” as they clashed with police in the city centre. The city is the capital of Lombardy, which has been particularly hard hit by the virus.