Violent protests in Italy over new virus limits

Smoke bombs and bottles thrown at police

Italian police officers stand in front of a shattered Gucci store window during a protest of far-right activists against the government restriction measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, in downtown Turin, on October 26, 2020, as the country faces a second wave of infections to the Covid-19 (the novel coronavirus). Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tightened nationwide coronavirus restrictions on October 25, 2020 after the country registered a record number of new cases, despite opposition from regional heads and street protests over curfews. Cinemas, theatres, gyms and swimming pools must all close under the new rules, which come into force on October 26, 2020 and run until November 24, while restaurants and bars will stop serving at 6pm, the prime minister's office said. / AFP / Marco BERTORELLO
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Hundreds of protesters turned out in Turin, Milan and other Italian cities and towns on Monday to vent their anger, sometimes violently, at the latest pandemic restrictions.

The new limits have forced restaurants and cafes to close early and cinemas, gyms and other leisure venues to shut.

In the northern city of Turin, some demonstrators smashed shop windows, setting off smoke bombs and hurling bottles at police in a main city square where the Piedmont regional government is based, state news channel RAI said.

A photographer was injured by a hurled bottle, RAI said. Police fired tear gas to clear the protesters in Piazza del Castello.

People stand in front of police officers during a protest against the new restrictions introduced by the government to curb the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections, in Turin, Italy, October 26, 2020. REUTERS/Massimo Pinca

In that same square, hours earlier, about 300 taxis peacefully lined up in rows to draw attention to their losses from the implosion of tourism and disappearance of workers from the city centre as they work remotely during the pandemic.

Sparking the violence in Turin were a group of "ultras", or football hooligans, LaPresse news agency said.

It said five of the protesters were detained by authorities.

In Italy's business capital Milan, police used tear gas against protesters on Monday night.

The protests began shortly after the national government's order took effect requiring bars, cafes and restaurants to close their doors at 6pm for the next 30 days as Italy tries to rein in the resurgence of coronavirus infections.

The lockdown was announced on Sunday, a day after Italy registered more than a half million confirmed cases since the pandemic's outbreak.

Last week, a peaceful march by shopkeepers and other business owners in Naples, upset about a regional curfew from 11pm, turned violent near the Campania region's headquarters.

A day later, an extreme right political group staged a violent demonstration in Rome.