Protests against the Italian government’s coronavirus policies turned violent on Saturday, with clashes breaking out between police and demonstrators in the nation’s capital, Rome.
According to media reports, several hundred people gathered in central Campo de’ Fiori to protest against a possible renewed lockdown. Videos showed bottles and fireworks being thrown at police.
According to the Ansa news agency, the demonstration, organized in part by radical right-wing forces, was continued in other parts of the city. Another rally organized by left-wing groups also took place on Saturday to shed light on social problems caused by the pandemic.
People also took to the streets in other cities across Italy, as they have in previous days. In Milan, government critics placed empty plates in front of the stock exchange and demanded financial help to get through the crisis. The government promised to support the many people affected by cinema and theatre closures with cash injections.
A survey published on Saturday showed that Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and his government have lost popularity in parallel to a second wave of novel coronavirus infections.
Approval for the head of the centre-left government in Rome fell by 7 percentage points in October compared to the previous month to reach 58 points, according to a study by Ipsos published in the newspaper Corriere della Sera.
The general popularity of the government, led by the Five-Star Movement and the Social Democrats, sank from 62 to 55 points, according to the study.
The data was based on a survey of around 1,000 participants.
The number of virus cases in Italy has been rising quickly since October. Conte’s government has repeatedly tightened restrictions, including closing down cinemas and theatres and forcing restaurants to close at 6 pm (1700 GMT).
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During the first wave and the summer, as numbers were down, Conte had managed to gain strong trust from the public.
The country with a population of 60 million registered over 31,758 new coronavirus infections within 24 hours on Saturday and a steep rise in the death toll.
Officials reported nearly 300 deaths due to the coronavirus for the past 24 hours.
Since the start of the outbreak, there have been some 680,000 cases in Italy, and more than 38,600 related deaths.
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