Protesters in Italy clashed with the police at a G7 protest in Taormina. Reuters reported that an emergency vehicle removed at least one injured person.
The violence was reportedly prompted by some protesters veering off route and approaching a police checkpoint. As a result, security forces deployed tear gas at the crowd which dispersed briefly, only to reapproach the checkpoint chanting “Sicily is not afraid.” The group then proceeded to face off with the police demanding free passage – citing freedom of movement.
The march and a specific route were sanctioned by the authorities.
Following the altercation with security personnel, the protesters eventually turned away and moved towards Taormina’s town hall.
The G7 protest was staged by several groups with varying political views, including anarchists, communists and LGBT supporters. Flags representing the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) were also present. The protest signaled the end of the summit, which was being held in Sicily.
According to Professor Salvatore Giordano, the turnout was less than expected, as tight security measures dissuaded many people from showing up. “They are criminalizing our dissent,” Giordano told Reuters. “We’re pacifists. We’re not here to break windows, but to protest against Sicily being turned into a giant aircraft carrier for the world’s military powers.”
Sicily communist party coordinator, Alessandro D'Alessandro, accused the media of carrying out a “fear campaign” to keep the protester numbers low. “It was hard to get here,” Reuters quoted D'Alessandro as saying. “But we came to tell the world's most powerful people that we oppose their military and capitalistic worldview. We're here to defend the interests of the weakest.”
The Italian media estimated a turnout of approximately 3,000 strong participated in the march.