Livelihood Above Collective Good: Italian Protest Turns Violent Against Second Wave Covid-19 Restrictions

On Monday, Peaceful protest in Italy took a violent turn against the state after the Italian government levied restrictions in an attempt to slow the second wave of coronavirus infections that is battering the country.

Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte on Sunday said: The aim is clear: to keep the contagion curve under control, because that is the only way can we manage the pandemic without being overwhelmed by it.” He further pressed upon that “the country can no longer afford a second complete lockdown.”

Restrictions imposed in Italy

As the country reported a record 24,000 of new cases, the authorities felt the need to tighten existing restrictions.

As per Prime Minister’s office, new rules will encompass cinemas, theatres, gyms, swimming pools and ski station that must be closed from October 26, until November 24. It also levies working hour restriction for bars and Restaurants till 6 pm.

Why are people protesting?

The business class, as a result, is upset because the restrictions will destroy the current income, which is already low due to reduced capacity and coronavirus measures.

Northern Italy is known for its swift snowy Alps mountains, and prime touristic business of ski is now hampered and affected in the major region of Aosta Valley, Turin and Milan. The protest, on Monday, turned violent in Milan and Turin as a result of extended restrictions.

Similarly, southern Italy is famous for dining. The restaurant owners are calling the restrictions unfair as it is the prime time of festivals and the southern economy thrive on the hospitality sector.

The protest started in Southern cities of Sicily, Palermo, Naples, Viareggio, Trieste, Rome, Salerno, Palermo, and Catania by taxi drivers, restauranteurs, bar owners, and people who work in cultural industries.

The pandemic deepens the north-south divide of Italy where southerners call the policy measures to be less discriminative given the presence of industries in northern Italy and no constraints over the same.

Milan and Turin on October 26 Night:

On Monday night, some protesters in Turin broke away from a peaceful demonstration, shattering shop windows, looting luxury shops, and having violent clash the with police, who in turn fired tear gas the large crowd.

According to police officials, around 2,500 people at Turin protest got separated into two groups. One of a peaceful demonstration by traders, restaurateurs and small business owners and the other of heterogenous young people, some from the far-right and non-EU citizens. The violent clashes were started by the latter. A mix of far-right and far-left agitators, organised crime groups and bored football hooligans used the opportunity to rob and create chaos of the situation.

A group of supposed hooded men also shattered shop windows and looted luxury boutiques, including that of Gucci and Louis Vuitton stores.

Several hundred protesters assembled in Milan and started throwing stones, petrol bombs, glass bottles and fireworks at governmental institutions. Twenty-eight people were taken in for questioning by police.

Protests took place in other cities, including prime centre Rome, Palermo and Genoa. At the protest in Rome, two officers were reported to be injured.

Protestor chanted similar slogan both in south and north “Freedom, freedom and freedom.” The authorities are trying to identify if there is a specific political ideology behind the radicalism.


Second wave of COVID-19 in Europe:

After flattening the curve, the European continent started finding itself in the pandemic trap again since September. The second wave of covid-19 is speculated to be worse than the first as it surpasses the first peak with three-times higher cases.

France official health ministry on October 25 confirmed a record 52,010 new cases in 24 hours; however, the health experts say the number will be beyond 1 lakh. The country has already imposed restrictions of night curfew and movement.

The United Kingdom initially registered 3,000-4,000 daily cases in the last week of September. Since October, it is recording around 20,000 daily cases.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said her country is on the verge of losing control of its fight against COVID-19. Germany reports more than 14,000 cases, and it has worried the authorities who called the situation “threatening.”

Italy reported nearly 3,000 cases, in the first week of October. However, the daily figure has shot up to 20,000, making the total go beyond 5,42,789 cases of the second wave.

The second wave has created havoc among the authorities regarding lockdown and restrictions. The nations are trying their best to slow down the transmission. However, with strict limits comes with the trade-off of the economy, and Europe is not sure to play that card again.

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