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Fed-up protesters in Italy erupted in fury as they clashed with police in both Milan and Rome. Italian businesses have only recently been allowed to reopen after more than two months of a strict nationwide lockdown meant to curb the spread of the virus. However, hundreds took to the streets in the two major Italian cities to demand an immediate end to the restrictions.
The anti-lockdown groups were also demanding for Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government to immediately resign and call a new election.
Others called for a “return to the Italian lira” – Italy’s currency prior to the introduction of the euro.
Protesters chanted anti-EU slogans, including ‘Stop Euro’ and ‘Italexit,’ as they demanded a swift exit from the eurozone.
Some also vented their anger at the economic hardship the lockdown has imposed, with businesses forced to shut as thousands struggle with income.
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In Milan, the protest was led by the so-called Orange Vest movement, where one of its founders, former Carabinieri General Antonio Pappalardo addressed the crowd.
He said: “The Italian people are not afraid. The Italian people have the desire to redeem themselves.
“This is the end of this government of arrogant people. The end of this government.”
The demonstration in the Piazza Duomo in Milan largely ignored social distancing measures and featured very few face masks.
The protest featured involved several claims that the coronavirus “does not exist” amid anger at the lockdown measures.
This comes as southern European nation confirmed at least 232,664 coronavirus cases and a death toll of 33,340.
Milan’s mayor Giuseppe Sala hit out at the protesters on Twitter, denouncing the rally as “an act of irresponsibility in a city like Milan that is trying so hard to get out of the difficult situation where it is”.
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He asked: “If tomorrow the infections will increase, who will be responsible?”
A regional coordinator of the protests, Renato Calcari, said: “We ask for the end of the Conte government, the election of a new Parliament and a new head of state, and to end the ongoing health dictatorship.
“We also ask for the introduction of a currency, called the new Italic lira so we are able to support Italian families and businesses.”
The protest in Rome was led by the far-right CasaPound, where dozens of protesters clashed with riot police, who responded with pepper spray.
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