Protests hit Italy as workplace anti-COVID norms come into force

People carry banners as they participate in a protest against the implementation of the COVID-19 health pass, the Green Pass, in the workplace as they gather outside the entrance of the major port of Trieste, Italy, October 15, 2021. REUTERS/Borut Zivulovic   | Photo Credit: REUTERS

Protests erupted in Italy on Friday as one of the most stringent anti-coronavirus measures in Europe went into effect, requiring all workers, from magistrates to maids, to show a health pass to get into their place of employment.

The police were out in force, schools were closing early and embassies issued warnings of possible violence amid concerns that anti-vaccination demonstrations could turn violent, as they did in Rome over the weekend.

Protests by port workers in Genoa and Trieste threatened to affect commercial activities, but early reports suggested the ports were operational. The protesters shouted “Liberta" (Freedom) in a largely peaceful demonstration in Florence.

The so-called “Green Pass” shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or of having recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months. Italy has required it to access all sorts of indoor activities for weeks, including dining , visiting museums and theaters and on long-distance trains.

But the addition of the workplace requirement has sparked heated debate and opposition in the one time epicenter of the outbreak, where vaccination rates are nevertheless among the highest in Europe and where even the latest delta variant-fueled resurgence has been kept largely under control.

Three Swiss Guards quit and another three were suspended after they refused to get vaccinated before the Vatican's Green Pass requirement went into effect.

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Printable version | Dec 9, 2021 3:30:51 AM |

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