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Another weekend of violent anti-lockdown protests in Europe: Clashes in Italy and Spain as restrictions tighten across the continent.
New lockdowns imposed over the last two weeks across Europe have sparked protests in several European countries, some of which have turned violent.
Protesters are fueled by ideological opposition and angry at the government-imposed restrictions, and afraid of upcoming economic hardship. As the pandemic spreads across the continent on a massive second wave, hospitals and intensive care units are being pushed to the end of their capacities, and countries including Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and Spain have reintroduced strict measures restricting movements, gatherings, and the closure of local small businesses.
Protesters not only include those motivated by ideological views, such as libertarians who see the government restrictions as an assault on personal freedoms and conspiracy theorists who claim the virus and its global effects are a hoax and small business owners and independent workers worried about their immediate incomes and economic future.
The protests reflect a growing dissatisfaction with the governments' responses to the pandemic, coupled with the increasing awareness that its effects will last for some time yet. They are taking place in countries such as Germany and France, with strong safety nets working relatively well for those affected by the economic slowdown.
Italy has been the stage of some of the worst and most violent protests for over a week now, with clashes between police and demonstrators taking place in Rome, Naples, Turin and Bologna. The country has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic, and new case numbers are on the surge again. The government has adopted new measures, including the closure of cinemas, theaters, and lockdown of bars and restaurants after 6 pm.
Coming to a town near you soon.... “Another weekend of violent anti-lockdown protests in Europe: Clashes in Italy and Spain as Belgium becomes the latest to lock down and restrictions tighten across continent”https://t.co/iqGprMV6pi
The government is working towards yet more stringent measures that could include a national 9 pm curfew, a ban on inter-regional travel, and the closure of shopping malls at weekends to try to slow an alarming rise in daily infections.
In Spain, where a nationwide night-time curfew has been imposed, and regional border closures have been imposed, protesters have resorted to looting and vandalism in several cities. In Madrid 32 were arrested and 12 injured at a demonstration against the midnight to 6 am curfew imposed in the area. Protests have also taken place in Barcelona, Málaga, Valencia, Santander, and Burgos, among other cities.