Rome bans Trieste Green Pass protest leader for one year

Rome police expel Puzzer from the capital for staging unauthorised protest.

Stefano Puzzer, the leader of the high-profile No Green Pass protests in the north Italian port of Trieste, has been expelled from Rome.

The order came from Rome's Questura, or police headquarters, which handed Puzzer a one-year ban from the capital where he had begun a one-man protest on Tuesday, reports news agency ANSA.

Puzzer, who gained international attention for organising a protest of Trieste dockers against Italy's Green Pass mandate for workers, had set up a makeshift stall in Rome's central Piazza del Popolo.

In front of him he placed five chairs with the names of Italian prime minister Mario Draghi, Pope Francis, the US, China and the European Union, saying he was ready for talks.

On Tuesday morning Puzzer pledged that he wouldn't budge "until the bitter end", saying he would stay in Piazza del Popolo until he "got an answer."

By the afternoon Puzzer received an answer in the form of a year-long ban from the Questura - for staging an "unauthorised protest" - and an order to return to Trieste by 21.00 on Wednesday.

Puzzer is considered a hero by the No Green Pass movement which is against the government's mandate for every worker in Italy to carry the certificate proving the holder has been vaccinated, tested negative or recovered from covid-19.

He and his followers have been protesting in Trieste since the legislation came into effect on 15 October, holding large-scale demonstrations in the port as well as in the city centre.

Trieste now has the highest weekly covid-19 incidence in Italy, with 283 cases per 100,000 inhabitants according to figures released on Monday, while every other large Italian city has under 100 cases per 100,000.

Many of the new coronavirus infections are attributed to the protests where crowds gathered, mostly without masks, over the last couple of weeks.

Among them was former Trieste city councillor Fabio Tuiach who claimed he caught covid after being sprayed by police water cannons.

This week, amid fears that Trieste could now become a covid 'yellow zone', the city's newly elected centre-right mayor Roberto Dipiazza has banned protests in the central Piazza Unità d’Italia until 31 December.

"What I have seen in the last few weeks has damaged the image of the city and threatens to take us backwards" - said Dipiazza - "This would be madness. Let's finish with the demonstrations that led to this disaster."

Photo Il Giorno