Turnout for Rome no mask protest smaller than expected.
Around 1,500 people demonstrated on 5 September in central Rome against Italy's covid-19 regulations, with barely anybody in the crowd wearing masks or keeping their distance.
The demonstrators, less than the 2,000 expected, comprised supporters of the ultra-right political party Forza Nuova (FN), anti-vaccine activists, and the Popolo delle Mamme movement, along with various covid-19 deniers and conspiracy theorists.
"Why am I in the piazza? I am a father of three children and because I am a worker. Because lockdowns and heinous policies have reduced us to hunger. Shame on you all, tricksters. I am a free man like everyone here today. I do not wear a muzzle," said FN leader Giuliano Castellino from the stage.
The protestors in Piazza Bocca della Verità railed against government policies, particularly the "health dictatorship" and "obligation to vaccinate," as well as the requirement to wear masks and practice social distancing to prevent covid-19 contagion.
Some of the placards labelled the government as "criminals and murderers" while one protestor burned a photograph of Pope Francis with the word "Satan" and the number 666 on his head. There was also an image of Bill Gates with the tag"Antichrist."
Demonstrators chanted "No Mask," "Hands off the children" and "Truth," while during the protest against the so-called health dictatorship a protestor fainted, leading to calls from the stage asking if there was a doctor among the crowd.
"We don't want the gag: we want to talk, we want to shout, we want to kiss. The mask must be burned", shouted Alessandra Giunta, who introduced herself on stage as a "mamma" and attempted to burn a mask. However, despite multiple attempts by several protestors, the mask failed to catch fire.
The rally was condemned by Rome mayor Virginia Raggi, Lazio governor Nicola Zingaretti, and Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza who stated: "Seeing a piazza of deniers sincerely makes one shudder."Photo Huffington Post
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Rome: No Mask protest against covid-19 rules
Piazza della Bocca della Verità, Roma RM, Italy