• Thursday, Nov 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 07:22 pm

Protesters clash with Italian police over anti-Covid-19 measures

  • Published at 02:21 pm October 27th, 2020
A fire is seen as people protest against the new restrictions introduced by the government to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections
A fire is seen as people protest against the new restrictions introduced by the government to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Turin, Italy, October 26, 2020 Reuters

Following weekend demonstrations that saw violence in Italy, crowds ranging in size from several hundred to several thousand took to the streets again on Monday evening

Thousands of Italian protesters angry over new restrictions announced to control the spread of coronavirus clashed with police in cities on Monday as European governments toughened their responses to the contagion.

Following weekend demonstrations that saw violence in Italy, crowds ranging in size from several hundred to several thousand took to the streets again on Monday evening.

In Milan, several trams were vandalised and bins were set on fire, while anti-riot police fired teargas at groups of young people throwing glass bottles and other projectiles, with similar scenes found in neighbouring Turin and in southern Naples.

The scenes of unrest came after Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered restaurants and bars to shut from 6:00 pm, while theatres, cinemas and gyms were ordered closed for a month -- much to the annoyance of business owners, opposition politicians and even some scientists.

The violence in Italy, which imposed one of the toughest lockdowns in the first wave of infections in March and April, is likely to reverberate around Europe where governments are weighing the need for tougher measures against the fatigue and frustration felt by many.

Maria Van Kerkhove, the WHO's technical expert on the pandemic, also voiced concern about the situation in Europe -- and in particular a surge in hospitalisations and rapidly filling intensive care units. 

The Czech Republic said it would impose a a night-time curfew, mimicking measures already introduced in France and Spain, Slovenia imposed border closures, while even Norway, with one of Europe's lowest infection rates, tightened its rules on social gatherings on Monday.

France is also bracing for harsher measures with President Emmanuel Macron set to gather his top ministers Tuesday to review efforts to curtail the outbreak after the number of daily cases topped 50,000 for the first time at the weekend.

Some options reportedly being considered included weekend lockdowns in high-infection areas, an earlier night-time curfew, or even another general country-wide stay-at-home order. 

Covid-19 has now claimed the lives of 1.1 million people and infected more than 43 million globally.

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