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Protests erupt in Rome over vaccine mandate

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 10/9/2021 Brandon Sapienza

Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Rome and their famous Via Veneto to protest vaccine mandates in workplaces across the city.

Beginning on Oct. 15, both public and private businesses in Italy will require a “Green Pass” vaccination requirement for employees that enter their offices.

Those who don’t comply with the new order, both employees and employers, could potentially be fined. Workers in public sector jobs risk being suspended if they come to work up to five times without the Green Pass.

People wave national flags during a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in central Rome on Saturday. © TIZIANA FABI People wave national flags during a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in central Rome on Saturday.

People wave national flags during a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in central Rome on Saturday. (TIZIANA FABI/)

The pass is already being enforced across the country for high density locations like museums, theaters, gyms, and indoor dining. Transportation providers including airlines and long-distance trains are also utilizing the Green Pass.

At Rome’s Piazza Del Popolo, protesters gathered in a loud fashion as they were permitted to do so by officials. However, many opted to leave the piazza and walked through Villa Borghese Park and then down the Via Veneto where their unlawful actions led to numerous clashes with police.

Other protesters separated from the illegal march and walked down the historic shopping district of Rome that concluded at Premier Mario Draghi’s office in Chigi Palace. Police held the area near the palace with parked police vans, and water guns to prevent the masses from entering the Italian government building.


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Many demonstrators raised their arms to avoid confrontation with police. Many others opted to raise clenched fists, waving the Italian flag and shouting “Freedom!”

“Get your hands off (our) work,” one banner read.

People take part in a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in Rome on Saturday. © Provided by New York Daily News People take part in a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in Rome on Saturday.

People take part in a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in Rome on Saturday. (TIZIANA FABI/)

A group of protesters also smashed their way into the headquarters of the Italian CGIL union building. The union, known for its left-wing views, has been a proponent of the Green Pass as a means of keeping factories and other industries operating safely as the pandemic continues to damage the Italian economy.

Italian state-media outlet Rai TV said that at least 10,000 people descended on the areas to protest despite organizers claiming that 100,000 people showed up. Just one protester was reportedly injured during the chaos.

Among the groups leading the protest was the right-wing Forza Nuova group.

Protesters shout during clashes following a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in central Rome on Saturday. © Provided by New York Daily News Protesters shout during clashes following a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in central Rome on Saturday.

Protesters shout during clashes following a protest against the mandatory sanitary pass called "green pass" in the aim to limit the spread of the Covid-19 in central Rome on Saturday. (TIZIANA FABI/)

“The right to demonstrate one’s ideas can never degenerate into acts of aggression and intimidation,” Draghi said. He added that any attempt to intimidate unions was unacceptable as he called the worker groups “a fundamental garrison of democracy.”

According to Draghi, 80% of Italian citizens age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated.

With Wire News Services.

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