Troubles broke out in Naples last night as people took to the streets after a curfew was imposed to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Videos and photos on social media showed incredible scenes when many young people clashed with police officers in one of the largest cities in southern Italy.
It comes after the country has seen a surge in coronavirus cases in recent weeks, with some regions, particularly Lombardy and Campania, seeing huge spikes in infections.
Vincenzo De Luca, president of the Campania region, said Friday he was considering imposing a full lockdown, closing schools and businesses, and leaving only essential services open to prevent further spread of the virus.
The announcement was seen as a major blow as people become worried about their livelihoods if a second ban is imposed.
But De Luca said the region was now at a critical point and he wanted to act before it was too late.
He said: “Current data on contagion make any type of sub-measure ineffective.
“We have to close everything except the companies that produce and transport important goods.
“We have to make one last attempt to get things under control.
“We have to shut everything down for 40 days for a month,” he added, without saying when the shutdown would begin.
Campania recorded 2,280 new coronavirus cases yesterday, bringing the total number of infections in the region to 34,305.
According to the local health authority, 12 other people died after being infected with Covid-19.
The total number of coronavirus-related deaths in the region is currently 563.
Campania has already closed most of its schools and imposed a night curfew. That evening, police in Naples used tear gas on hundreds of people protesting the prospect of even stricter measures.
They were the first such demonstrations in Italy since the coronavirus outbreak eight months ago.
During the violent protests, bottles were also thrown at the Italian police news agency Ansa reported.
The protesters held a banner in front of the president of the region, De Luca, which read: “You are closing us, you are paying us.”
As the riots continued, the group of demonstrators grew larger and more people joined them as they walked the streets of Naples.
Many sang “Freedom, Freedom, Freedom” during their procession.
Almost every protester was seen wearing a face mask in the photos and videos.
Some protesters also set fire to rubbish bins along Via Santa Lucia.
Firefighters visited the scene to try to put out the fire, but protesters blocked their vehicle and did not allow them to put out the flames.
The first protests began at 11 p.m. when the hospitality curfew began.
After the dramatic scenes, the crowd was distracted but loud Heaven Tg24 There were around 200 people in front of the main building of the Campania region.
At the end of the protest, protesters continued to sing against the new measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.
The Mayor of Naples, Luigi de Magistris, commented on the unrest to the Italian TV channel RaiTre: “For us this is a day of bitterness.
“Via Santa Lucia is a street full of culture. To see the violence, the tear gas, is a defeat.
“Violence must always be condemned.”
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he wants to avoid a new national lockdown that would ruin the already fragile economy, but Italian law gives regional leaders room for maneuver to build their own curbs and several regions are taking the matter into themselves Hand.
The governor of Lombardy, which also includes the Italian financial capital Milan, said on Friday that his region was facing a “dramatic situation” and urged locals to observe a curfew from 11pm to 5am, among other things.
Lombardy, the epicenter of Italy’s first outbreak, remains the hardest hit region, accounting for 4,916 of the new cases on Friday. Campania was the second worst hit.
COVID-19 cases across the country have increased seven-fold since the start of the month, rising to 19,143 on Friday, raising fears the pandemic is spiraling out of control.
There were 91 deaths on Friday, up from 136 the day before and far fewer than at the peak of the first wave in March and April, when it hit a daily high of more than 900 deaths.