Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police – World News

Protesters clashed with police in Rome after a far-right group called for action against the latest lockdown measures in Italy.

The protest came just 24 hours after violent riots took place in Naples when a curfew was imposed and the region’s president threatened a full lockdown following a spike in Covid-19 cases.

Around 400 activists gathered in Piazza del Popolo in Rome on Saturday evening.

The protest started off peacefully, but turned violent when police told protesters to leave due to a midnight curfew put in place to curb the spread of Covid-19.



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
Members of far-right group Forza Nuova took to the street to protest against the latest coronavirus restrictions

Protesters threw firecrackers and smoke bombs at the police, Italian news agency Ansa reports.

When officers intervened to disperse the crowd, protesters simply moved towards a different area where further violent protests continued taking place.

Activists also set some rubbish bins alight in the street – similarly to what happened in Naples the previous night.



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
Italian police officers arrest an activist during the violent protest



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
Demonstrators set rubbish bins alight in the street

The protest was organised after Italian far-right political party Forza Nuova called for people to rebel against the curfews.

Ahead of the protest, Forza Nuova leader Giuliano Castellino had said they would hold a peaceful rally.

But just three minutes after midnight, the protest turned violent, with activists attacking police, Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reports.

Officers stopped eight protesters, according to local media, and eventually managed to disperse the crowd.



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
The violent riot took place in central Rome yesterday evening



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
A car with the windscreen damaged by protesters



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
Protesters threw firecrackers and smoke bombs at riot police officers

Earlier, health ministry data showed 19,644 new COVID cases and 151 dead as the disease surged in areas like Lombardy, Milan, Campania and Lazio.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged to speed up help for businesses suffering in the crisis but said the weeks ahead would be very difficult.

“We cannot lower our guard,” he added.

The scenes in the capital mirrored those seen in Naples on Friday night, where hundreds of people took to the streets to protest against fresh measures being introduced to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

Protesters held a banner addressing the region’s president De Luca, which read: “You close us, you pay us.”

As the riots went on, the group of demonstrators became bigger with more people joining them as they walked along the streets of Naples.

Many were chanting “freedom, freedom, freedom” during their procession.

Italy reported another daily record for COVID-19 cases on Saturday as the government planned further restrictions to contain a resurgence of the pandemic.



Second night of coronavirus lockdown riots in Italy as protesters clash with Rome police - World News
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has repeatedly said he wants to avoid a second national lockdown

Conte has said he wants to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdown earlier in the year.

But a number of regions have imposed overnight curfews and the central government is expected to announce more measures soon.

Italy’s top public health body warned on Friday services were approaching crisis point.

The country has recorded 504,509 infections and 37,210 coronavirus-related deaths.

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