The public holiday on 2 June to celebrate the foundation of the Italian republic may be the beginning of a difficult few days for citizens and security forces in Rome. Pacifist demonstrators are threatening to disrupt a traditional military parade along the Via dei Fori Imperiali on that day, an event that is usually attended by the president of the republic and by leading politicians.

The same demonstrators are planning more serious disruption on 4 and 5 June when the United States president George W. Bush is due in Rome for a 24 hour visit. Demonstrators are planning to block bridges over the river Tiber and to set up road-blocks in strategic areas of the city.

The authorities have put a ban on marches through Piazza Venezia, not only the main city crossroad but also a stones-throw away from the home of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi. There are expected to be 10,000 members of the security forces on duty in the city during this critical period.