Protests in Italy against new virus restrictions turn violent

Protesters turned out by the hundreds in Turin, Milan and other Italian cities on Monday to vent their anger, sometimes violently, at the latest pandemic restrictions, announced by PM Giuseppe Conte on Sunday. The government’s decree includes closing the restaurants and cafes after 6 p.m. and also shuts cinemas, gyms and other leisure venues.

In the northern city of Turin, some demonstrators broke off from a peaceful protest, smashing store windows on an elegant shopping street, setting smoke bombs and hurling bottles at police in a main city square where the Piedmont regional government is headquartered, RAI state TV said. A photographer was injured by a hurled bottle, RAI said. Police fired tear gas to clear the protesters in Piazza del Castello. Triggering the violence in Turin were a group of “ultras,” as violent soccer fans are known. Five of the protesters were detained by authorities.

In Italy's business capital, Milan, police used tear gas to scatter protesters on Monday night, and an Associated Press journalist saw at least two people detained.

Last week, a peaceful march by shopkeepers and other business owners in Naples, upset about a regional curfew that orders citizens off the streets at 11 p.m., turned violent near the Campania region's headquarters. Investigators were quoted in Italian media as saying the violence, in which police officers were injured, bore the hand of the Camorra, the local organized crime group.

A day later, an extreme right political group staged a violent demonstration in downtown Rome.

Smaller cities, including Catania in Sicily, and towns also saw protests Monday. In Cremona, a town in northern Lombardy, restaurant owners turned out in front of the local interior ministry's office. After banging pots and bans, they left them piled up in the street to highlight their economic woes worsened by the latest early-shutdown decree, the ANSA news agency said.

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