The protest turned violent as demonstrators clashed with police, reportedly leaving two policemen and at least one protester injured. A number of arrests were made.
Led by the ‘Movimento Imprese Italiane’ (The Italian Business Movement), the protesters wore shackles and chains and chanted for freedom.
“We put chains on ourselves because we can’t go ahead and accept this situation. We want to reclaim our jobs and our freedom,” said one protester.
Bars and restaurants are open only for takeaway during the day, in line with the current ‘red’ and ‘orange zone’ restrictions, and remain closed at night.
Chanting “Work!” and “Freedom!” the demonstrators in Piazza Montecitorio demanded that the government immediately reopen the businesses.
“We ask for an immediate end to the national lockdown. We ask for an immediate end to the coloring of different regions. And we ask for the immediate opening, without restrictions for people or times, of all commercial activity. Regardless of the statistics related to the disease,” the protester went on to say.
Some protesters are reported to have been in tears and shouting: “We just want to work, we don’t ask for anything else.”
Some restaurant owners were reportedly defying the government orders by promising to open the doors of their establishments from April 7 despite restrictions, as “a matter of survival.”
Italy imposed a three-day national coronavirus lockdown on Saturday to prevent a surge of infections over the Easter period. Non-essential movement and large Easter get-togethers were banned. After the holiday weekend, either ‘orange zone’ or ‘red zone’ restrictions will remain in place in different regions until the end of April.
Italy was one of the first countries to be worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic. There have been close to 3,700,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Italy since the outbreak began, with more than 111,740 virus-related deaths so far.
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