Street protests in Naples over prospect of lockdown as Italy registers over 19,000 new coronavirus cases.
Italian police used tear gas against protestors during riots in the southern city of Naples as the Campania region entered its first night of curfew, in the first such clashes in Italy since the coronavirus outbreak eight months ago.
Hundreds of people took to the streets to demonstrate over the imminent lockdown threatened by the Campania governor Vincenzo De Luca due to the rapidly rising numbers of new covid-19 cases.
Under banners that read "Against De Luca" and "You close us you pay us," protestors set fire to bins and vandalised cars as well as throwing stones, bottles and fireworks at police who responded with baton charges and tear gas.
"Tonight we witnessed real criminal behaviour towards the police" - said Naples police commissioner Alessandro Giuliano - "No conditions of discomfort, however humanly understandable, can in any way justify the violence."
De Luca, who has already shut schools and imposed a night curfew, yesterday called for a month-long national lockdown as Italy registered a record 19,143 new coronavirus cases, of which 2,280 were in Campania.
De Luca said it is necessary to "close everything," except for sectors that produce and transport essential goods, as well as blocking movement between regions.
The Campania governor's calls for a nationwide lockdown follows a similar call from 100 prominent scientists and academics who appealed to premier Giuseppe Conte to adopt drastic measures at a national level, warning that without taking swift action Italy could soon face having 400-500 coronavirus deaths a day.
Despite mounting pressure and fears that the pandemic is spiralling out of control, Conte is so far resisting implementing a second national lockdown, saying that it would wreck the country's already fragile economy.
In the meantime several Italian regions have begun taking matters into their own hands, including Lazio (Rome) and Lombardy (Milan), introducing new restrictions such as curfews at night.
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Naples curfew riots as Italy’s covid-19 cases hit new record
Naples, Metropolitan City of Naples, Italy