Terrifying scenes ahead of vaccine mandate for millions

·3-min read

Violent riots have erupted in Italy as anti-vaccination protestors clashed with police, who responded with tear gas, water cannons and brute force.

Shocking footage has emerged of riot officers using their batons to push back hundreds of people demonstrating in Rome against a government drive to make the Covid-19 "Green Pass" mandatory for all workers.

The scenes are reminiscent of violent protests that plagued Melbourne's streets for several days last month as some construction workers rejected a vaccine mandate for the industry.

Demonstrators clash with police officers during a protest against the government's introduction of the
Demonstrators have clashed with police officers in Italy during a protest against the government's introduction of the "Green Pass". Source: Reuters

Fiery protests sparked by workplace vaccine rule

The Green Pass, which was designed to ease travel among the European Union, shows whether someone has received at least one vaccine dose, has tested negative or recently recovered from the virus.

In a matter of days, Italy will become the first country in Europe to make all workers carry the pass in an effort to accelerate vaccination coverage across the country.

But opponents, including far-right neo-facist groups, believe it will hinder freedoms by forcing vaccinations.

Under the system, any worker who fails to present a valid health certificate will be suspended with no pay, but they cannot be sacked.

Demonstrators protest against the government's introduction of the
More than 10,000 angry protesters casued chaos in Rome as some tried to break police lines. Source: Reuters

Tensions escalate amid green pass anger

More than 10,000 angry protesters took to the streets of the Italian capital chanting “freedom, freedom”, according to local media reports.

The rally escalated as some looked to break past police lines, with one group attempting to reach Prime Minister Mario Draghi's city center office.

Another set its sights on smashing into the headquarters of Italy's main CGIL trade union.

Police officers approach a demonstrator protesting against the government's introduction of the
Police were forced to use tear gas, water cannons and brute force to hold back hundreds of protesters. Source: Reuters

Rally slammed as ‘fascist thuggery’

Mr Draghi condemned the violence and doubled down on his government’s commitment to completing its vaccination campaign.

"The right to demonstrate to support one's ideas can never degenerate into acts of aggression and intimidation," he said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Italian trade unionist Maurizio Landini said: "The assault on CGIL's national headquarters is an act of fascist thuggery, an attack on democracy and on the world of work."

With Reuters

Do you have a story tip? Email: newsroomau@yahoonews.com.

You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and download the Yahoo News app from the App Store or Google Play.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting