In the first quarter of 2020, the Italian economy suffered a drop in its GDP of 5.4%, a percentage that in the second quarter increased to a dramatic 12.4%.
Italy emerged from its lockdown on May 4 2020, initiating its so-called Phase 2. That same day I was present at the first protest that took place at the Piazza del Duomo, where participants were fined 400 euros for not respecting the ban on large gatherings. Covid restrictions protesters Italy
As the days went by, these protests became generalized and included many economic and social sectors protesting the slow response of the government in implementing economic aid measures. The Piazza del Duomo, The Pirelli Tower, and the seat of the government of the Lombardy Region were the daily locations for these demonstrations.
On May 6 a group of restaurant, bar, and pub owners came together to express their discontent by bringing their empty chairs to the Arch of Peace. When they were interviewed for television they were fined by the authorities. Paolo Poli, one of the participants, staged a hunger strike at that very moment and stayed on the spot with a tent and a sleeping bag.
On the morning of May 30, the Piazza del Duomo, which had remained quiet for some months, was the scene of protest by General Pappalardo and his “Orange Vests”. Crying “Libertà,” Libertà!” (Freedom, Freedom!) the protestors brazenly disobeyed the mask mandate and social distancing, because they consider the coronavirus a political conspiracy to hand over Italian sovereignty to China. Covid restrictions protesters Italy
Later that afternoon in the same plaza, 2000 employees and artists from the worlds of culture and entertainment gathered to make their voices and complaints heard and display banners bearing articles of the Italian constitution that explicitly protect culture. This extraordinary gathering is part of another gallery on this website. (#convocatecidalvivo)
On June 6 it was the turn of Italy’s “Zorro”, Riccardo Germani, to protest with thousands of people from all milieus of life, crying out that the weakest should not bear the brunt of the crisis, and opposing the policy of the current government of Giuseppe Conte.
At the beginning of July, while many people were heading to the beaches of Liguria, the largely forgotten heroes of the harsh winter lockdown arrived in Milan from all over Italy. They were front-line nurses who demonstrated on July 4 in the Piazza del Duomo under the slogan “Rispetto” (Respect), and demanded concrete measures to aid their profession and the Italian health system. Covid protest Milan Italia
On October 11th the “Trunks in the Square” (I Bauli in Piazza) gathered. These were entertainment industry workers protesting the inconveniences and economic hardships caused by the lockdown and Phase 2 restrictions.
On October 31st the “Io vivo di danza” (“I live from dance”) protest took place. This was a peaceful and dazzling dance show in which employees of dance schools expressed their need to go back to work, something they had not been able to do since March. Covid protest Milan Italia
On October 25, the Italian government issued a new DPCM (Decree of the President of the Council of Ministers), again imposing heavy restrictions on daily economic activities and social life, including a curfew from 10 pm until 5 am. All across Italy– in Turin, Milan, Florence, Rome, and Naples– violent protests erupted, accompanied by the destruction of property and physical attacks and injuries.
On October 26, the streets, bathed in rain, prompted me to go out with my camera in search of images. I was surprised to find myself caught in a protest of young people from Centri Sociali, or Social Centers, that are social and political spaces for left-wing counterculture and anti-capitalism. They attacked public transportation and police until they were dispersed with tear gas. A video posted on ABC Mundial shows my footage taken that night.
On November 4 another DPCM imposed a second lockdown, dividing Italy into three different risk areas, and prescribing drastic interventions for the red zone risk areas. And so, the hopes of Italians to resume their working lives and return to normal economic and social activities were dashed once again.
Education in Italy was also suffering the consequences of the lockdown. There was no continuity of classes in the schools, and everyone must remain socially distanced in the colleges and universities. Students and teachers expressed their frustration by gathering in protest at the Lombardy regional government headquarters, or at high schools like Bottoni to do their online lessons together in defiance.
Pablo Munini, Milan, November 2021
Photos published by the international press :
Articles for ABC Mundial:
Covid restrictions protesters Italy