Italy bans covid Green Pass protests from city centres

Italian government gets tough with Green Pass protesters.

Italy's interior ministry has cracked down on the No Green Pass movement by prohibiting their rallies from city centres, in a bid to protect public health and stop disruption to businesses and local residents.

Italian interior minister Luciana Lamorgese said that while people have the constitutional right to protest, there is also a need "to have safe living spaces for the large number of citizens who have been vaccinated and observe the rules."

On Wednesday night the minister sent a directive to the prefects of Italian cities, tasking them with identifying "specific sensitive urban areas, of particular interest for the orderly development of community life, which may be subject to a temporary ban on public demonstrations."

The order effectively means that future Green Pass protests will be reduced to sit-ins, rather than marches, and will be held far away from historic centres, shopping streets or "sensitive" sites such as institutional or political headquarters.

The move comes as authorities take increasingly strident measures against the No Green Pass protests which have had a negative impact on city centre retailers at weekends for several months.

The rallies have led to a surge of covid infections in the northern port city of Trieste whose mayor has curbed protests amid concerns that the surrounding region could become subject to new restrictions.

Protestors at No Green Pass rallies have also been condemned for comparing themselves to Holocaust victims, notably in Novara where dozens of people dressed in the style of Auschwitz prisoners.

Italy's new rules for protests against the Green Pass will come into force ahead of this weekend.