Protesters and police clash on streets of Trieste.
Thousands of people took to the streets of Trieste, Milan and several other Italian cities on Saturday night to protest against Italy's covid Green Pass mandate for workers.
The Green Pass, a certificate proving the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19, became obligatory for all workers in Italy on 15 October, sparking sporadic demonstrations around the country, mainly in the north.
In Trieste, which has been to the forefront of protests against the pass, around 8,000 people showed up to demonstrate last night, according to the city's police headquarters.
This was the second-biggest protest in the city in the last 10 years, after a rally by the No Green Pass and No Vax movements in mid-October which attracted about 15,000 people, reports newspaper Il Fatto Quotidiano.
Clashes broke out last night between protesters and police near the central Piazza Unità, which was cordoned off following a recent order banning protests there.
Demonstrators shouted insults at Italian premier Mario Draghi and the city's centre-right mayor Roberto Dipiazza, with some throwing chairs and tables at police who responded with batons.
Absent from the rally in Trieste was Stefano Puzzer, the docker and high-profile leader of the Green Pass protest group La gente come noi (People like us), who was reportedly out of town.
Since the protests began in Trieste last month, the northern port city has become the covid hotspot of Italy, making international headlines.
In Milan about 4,000 No Green Pass protesters took to the streets last night, including some who carried a cardboard coffin draped in the Italian tricolour to mark the "funeral of freedom", as police blocked demonstrators from reaching the Darsena waterfront district.
There were also protests in the northern cities of Padua (where 3,000 people showed up), Turin, and Novara, where last weekend No Green Pass protesters caused outrage by dressing in the style of prisoners at Nazi death camps.
What are Italy's Green Pass rules for workers?
Workers who do not have the Green Pass are not permitted to enter their workplace, with every day they miss as a result regarded as "unjustified" absence.
After five days off work, employees will be suspended and have their pay frozen, however nobody can be fired for not having the health certificate.
Unvaccinated employees can still enter the workplace but only if they undergo a covid test every 48 hours, at their own expense, with a fixed cost of €15.
Those who go to work without the health certificate risk fines of between €600 and €1,500.
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.
Photo credit: ANSA