Italy Green Pass protesters attack journalist and bar staff at Rome rally

Calls to move Green Pass protests away from Circus Maximus.

A high-profile Italian journalist and the owner of a bar were attacked and threatened by protesters during a rally against Italy's covid Green Pass in Rome on Saturday afternoon.

Selvaggia Lucarelli was reporting from among the 4,000 maskless people gathered in the Circus Maximus, filming the predominantly hostile encounters, insults and No Vax conspiracy theories on her phone.

Lucarelli was told to leave multiple times and at one point was surrounded by a crowd chanting "giornalista terrorista" (journalist terrorist), a favourite taunt of the No Vax and No Green Pass movement.

The hostility culminated in a man headbutting Lucarelli's phone, an act that has been widely condemned, with the full footage published by the Rome-based newspaper Domani.

There were tense scenes too at the 075 bar opposite the Circus Maximus where a group of demonstrators refused requests from staff to wear masks or show a Green Pass, the certificate proving the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

The situation escalated into threats of violence against the bar's owner Isabella Massaccesi before the prompt intervention of plain-clothes police officers.

Massaccesi told news agency ANSA that one protester dropped his trousers to "make vulgar gestures" towards her, in what she described as a "serious act" amid a wave of "senseless and useless aggression."

However she said she wouldn't be making an official complaint to the police because there are so many incidents that she would "end up having to report 20 or 30 cases a day."

"The impression I have is that they play the big guys against the little ones" - Massaccesi told ANSA - "We are the little ones, we restaurateurs, and we must be respected because we have to enforce certain rules."

Recently Italy banned Green Pass protests from city centres and shopping districts but in Rome the demonstrations are still permitted at the Circus Maximus.

Footage from the weekend however has led to calls for future 'No Green Pass' rallies to be moved to other locations.

 

Lorenza Bonaccorsi, president of Rome's central Municipio I area, has asked to meet the city's prefect to discuss moving demonstrations elsewhere, telling SkyTG24 it is "no longer possible to tolerate situations" like the one on Saturday "in the middle of the archaeological area."

Carlo Calenda, a prominent candidate in the recent race for mayor of Rome, also slammed the scenes at the Circus Maximus.

"This is a public square. It doesn't belong to a bunch of illiterate and violent boors" - Calenda wrote on Twitter - "They attacked a reporter and a bar worker. Enough. Send them to demonstrate in an open space outside the ring road."

Photo Il Messaggero

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Italy Green Pass protesters attack journalist and bar staff at Rome rally

Via del Circo Massimo, 00186 Roma RM, Italy