By Nathan Munn
October 11, 2021
Tens of thousands of Italians took to the streets of Rome on Saturday to protest the looming imposition of new rules that will require employees in the public and private sectors to present their ‘Green Pass’ to access their places of employment.
The Green Pass proves that individuals have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine; have recovered from a Covid-19 infection in the preceding six months; or have recently tested negative for coronavirus. Coronavirus tests are not free in Italy, and individuals bear the cost of testing.
More than eight million Italians have not received a first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Far-right agitators infiltrated the protests, which were reported by Italian media to be the largest ever seen in Italy against coronavirus restrictions. Some media outlets emphasized the presence of the far-right Forza Nuova at the protests, which spilled over into violence when a group of demonstrators fought riot police in an attempt to storm the residence of Italian prime minister Mario Draghi. However, an analysis from The Local pointed out that previous demonstrations led by Forza Nuova attracted only a “few hundred” protesters – a fraction of the size of the crowds seen on Saturday in Rome.
NOW – Large protest against the vaccine passport in #Rome, Italy. From October 15, the health pass will be compulsory for Italians to get to their places of work, both in the private and public sectors.pic.twitter.com/cxC8Vbo6TB— Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) October 9, 2021
During Saturday’s protest, Forza Nuova leader Giuliano Castellino allegedly incited members of the crowd to attack the offices of the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL), a trade union. People broke into the building and trashed it, leading to the arrest of 12 individuals including Roberto Fiore, founder of Forza Nuova.
A group of demonstrators also attacked a hospital emergency unit, reportedly injuring four medical staff. Riot police responded to the attacks with water cannons and tear gas.
Right wing commentators seized on the scale of the protests to suggest many mainstream Italians are against the imposition of the Green Pass.
MASSIVE protests in Italy today🇮🇹— PeterSweden (@PeterSweden7) October 9, 2021
Between 10 000 to 30 000 people took to the streets of Rome to protest covid passport mandates.
Next week those without a covid passport will loose their lively hoods.
Why isn't this bigger news? pic.twitter.com/4Hz7qG4bFk
Scenes of riot police beating what appear to be peaceful protesters with batons emerged on social media.
Police in Rome, Italy beat protesters at the protest against the vaccine pass with batons. pic.twitter.com/GNdFOG3xG1— Marie Oakes (@TheMarieOakes) October 9, 2021
Some violent protesters attacked police with bats and sticks.
Scuffles break out at protest against mandatory vaccination in Rome pic.twitter.com/naPD8YqAeD— Wittgenstein (@Kukicat7) October 10, 2021