ROME (AP) — An extreme-right party’s violent exploitation of anger over Italy’s Coronavirus restrictions is forcing authorities to wrestle with the country’s fascist legacy and fueling fears there could be a replay of last week’s mobs trying to force their way to Parliament.
Starting Friday, anyone entering workplaces in Italy must have received at least one vaccine dose, or recovered from COVID-19 recently or tested negative within two days, using the country’s Green Pass to prove their status. Italians already use the pass to enter restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment, or to take long-distance buses, trains or domestic flights.
But 10,000 opponents of that government decree turned out in Rome’s vast Piazza del Popolo, last Saturday in a protest that degenerated into alarming violence.
It’s the mixing and overlap of the extreme right and those against Italy’s vaccine mandates that are causing worries, even though those opposed to vaccines are still a distinct minority in a country where 80% of people 12 and older are fully vaccinated.