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Italy Green Pass protesters attack journalists

Italian politicians condemn violence and threats against reporters and doctors.

Italy's interior minister Luciana Lamorgese has convened a meeting to discuss the rise in violence and intimidation towards journalists from people protesting against the covid Green Pass obligations.

The recent wave of aggression comes ahead of a further tightening of Green Pass restrictions on 1 September when new rules governing transport and education come into force.

"We will always ensure the freedom to demonstrate peacefully in compliance with the rules but acts of violence and threats will not be allowed," the interior ministry said in a statement.

The latest incident occurred on Tuesday morning when Francesco Giovannetti, a video reporter for La Repubblica newspaper, was assaulted outside the education ministry in Rome during a sit-in protest against the Green Pass.

Giovannetti had been asking protesters questions about the reasons behind their demonstration when a man told him to move away before saying "I'll cut your throat" and then punching him several times.

The reporter was taken to hospital while the aggressor, a 57-year-old school employee, was detained by police.

The assault took place a few days after Antonella Alba, a journalist from state broadcaster RAI, was physically attacked for wearing a mask and filming during a No Green Pass rally in Rome on Saturday.

In recent months there have been numerous cases of police having to escort reporters away from No Green Pass and No Vax demonstrations due to threats from protestors who frequently accuse journalists of being "terrorists".

The latest attacks and intimidation have been widely condemned by politicians.

Unjustifiable violence

On Twitter the education minister Patrizio Bianchi sent his "maximum solidarity" to Giovannetti, saying the "unjustifiable" assault "offends the image of the school which is a place of dialogue, discussion, tolerance."

Health minister Roberto Speranza also condemned the escalation of violence: "My full solidarity goes to the journalists involved. We must say enough of these serious incidents.”

Doctors threatened

High-profile medical experts who air their views on the coronavirus situation via social media and television have also been the subject of intimidation from No Green Pass and No Vax protesters recently.

Virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco said he has been inundated with threatening phone calls, while infectious diseases doctor Matteo Bassetti was followed to the front door of his family home by a man who shouted: "You'll kill us all with these vaccines, we'll make you pay for it."

On Tuesday police began escorting Bassetti between his home and his place of work at the S. Martino hospital in Genoa.

The escalating wave of aggression comes as protestors plan to hold demonstrations to 'blockade' train stations across Italy on Wednesday 1 September, the day that new Green Pass travel rules come into effect.

The Green Pass - which shows that people have been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19 - will be required to board airplanes, Intercity and high-speed trains, long-distance buses and inter-regional ferries as of 1 September.

The Green Pass is currently required to dine indoors in restaurants as well as providing access to a wide range of cultural, leisure and social activities.

Details about the Green Pass can be found - in Italian - on the Certificazione Verde website while for official information about the covid-19 situation in Italy - in English - see the health ministry website.

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