Demonstrators clash with riot police in Piazza Castello in Turin, Italy, on Monday. Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Italians violently protested lockdown measures imposed Monday after a boom in COVID-19 cases.
Gyms, pools, cinemas, and theaters were required to close until November 24, and bars and restaurants were forced to close by 6 p.m. each day.
Demonstrators clashed with police officers in cities like Rome, Turin, Milan, and Naples, as well as in smaller towns. The police made dozens of arrests.
Videos posted on social media showed protesters hitting police vans with bats and people looting a Gucci store in Turin.
On Sunday, Italy reported a record 21,273 daily new coronavirus cases, along with 128 deaths.
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People across Italy violently protested new lockdown measures imposed Monday after a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Sunday that “to avoid a second general lockdown,” gyms, swimming pools, cinemas, and theaters must close until November 24 at the earliest, with all bars and restaurants to close by 6 p.m. every day.
This week Italy entered its worst period of the pandemic since March and April, when it was an epicenter of the pandemic.
On Monday, the country recorded 17,012 new cases and 141 new deaths, according to the health ministry. On Sunday, it reported a high of 21,273 daily new cases, along with 128 deaths.
Demonstrators and riot police in Piazza Castello. Mauro Ujetto/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Despite this, the new rules were met with derision across Italy.
Businesses said they would crumble under the measures, though Conte has promised a compensation package to alleviate damage.
Protests broke out in cities and small towns alike on Monday. The largest and most violent were in Turin, Milan, and Naples.
Videos posted on social media showed a group of people breaking into and looting a Gucci store in Turin.
Italy’s ANSA news agency reported that two Egyptian nationals were arrested over a Gucci store looting and that arrests were also made over the looting of a Louis Vuitton store in the city.
Six people were arrested in Turin on Monday “in relation to violence, fires and looting,” ANSA said.
Earlier in the evening, dozens of the city’s taxi drivers created a peaceful blockade in Piazza Castello, a popular city square, to protest the lockdown, the Stato Quotidiano newspaper said.
Many people in Naples who gathered to protest the new lockdown measures created a din by banging cookware like cutlery and cocktail mixers, according to La Repubblica.
Citizens and shopkeepers protest in Piazza Plebiscito in Naples on Monday. Manuel Dorati/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Videos also showed protesters in the city attacking police vans with clubs.
In Milan, the police detained 28 people following clashes with protesters, according to La Repubblica.
And in Rome, about 300 people gathered to protest, with two police officers reportedly injured during the clashes.
Riot police at demonstrations in Milan on Monday. Mairo Cinquetti/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Protesters also gathered in Lecce, Trieste, Viareggio, Pescara, Catania, and Cremona.
A group of protesters Lecce chanted “Better the risk of dying from COVID than the certainty of dying of hunger,” La Repubblica reported.
Conte said on Sunday that the anger was understandable but added that “we can’t allow professional organizers of social unrest to infiltrate these protests.”
A small anti-lockdown demonstration in Piazza Vittoria in Brescia on Monday. Stefano Nicoli/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The measures imposed on Monday were the latest and most severe in a string of rules introduced this fall.
On October 19, Conte gave local mayors the power to close their town centers by 9 p.m.
And on October 7, the government made it compulsory to wear masks outdoors.
In September, Italy seemed to be avoiding the second COVID-19 wave that was hitting Europe. But it has joined its neighbors in struggling to contain outbreaks.
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