What do people in Italy really think of the new coronavirus restrictions?

What do people in Italy really think of the new coronavirus restrictions?
Business owners demonstrate outside Milan city hall on October 27th, against measures taken by the government aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19. Photo: Miguel Medina
After protests in Italy in recent days, including some which turned violent, police say organised crime is behind the unrest while polls find most people think current coronavirus measures are adequate or not strict enough.

There have been widespread reports of public anger in Italy after the government announced tightened measures on Sunday, including a 6pm closure for bars and restaurants, and evening curfews in some regions.

There were violent street protests over the past four days in Italian cities from Milan and Turin to Naples and Catania, with public discontent reportedly rising due to the new restrictions.
 
 
However, opinion polls found that the majority of people in Italy do not view the current rules as too strict.
 
Most say the restrictions are either adequate or don't go far enough, a poll by Italian firm SWG and TV news channel LA7 found on Tuesday.
 
One in four Italians thought the rules were too strict.
 
The poll found 28 percent think the measures were adequate considering the current situation.
 
 
However 36 percent were in favour of even tougher rules, saying the latest restrictions are insufficient to contain the spread.
 
The only measure that seems especially unpopular is the post-6pm closure of bars and restaurants: almost half (48%) said this rule was excessive, while 35% consider it adequate, and 17% insufficient.
 
Some regions including Campania have stricter local measures in force.
 
 
Photo: AFP
 
Business owners have held peaceful demonstrations in recent days to voice their concerns about the financial impact of the latest measures. However, authorities said these demonstrators were not responsible for the vandalism and clashes with riot police reported over the weekend.
 
Turin’s police chief Giuseppe De Matteis told AFP the protests “cannot be attributed to social discontent but… to orchestration by individuals dedicated to crime”.
 
Police in Naples identified known members of four Camorra mafia families thought to have planned and directed demonstrations in Naples that descended into violence on Friday.
 
Meanwhile in Rome on Saturday around 200 masked militants belonging to neo-fascist group Forza Nuova hurled objects at police and set bins alight in a series of protests, local police said.
 
Italian police officers clash with far right Forza Nuova party activists in Rome on Saturday. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
 
“The violence was of a level of intensity that is not the behaviour of restaurant owners nor business nor workers,” Italy’s chief anti-mafia prosecutor Federico Cafiero De Raho told local newspaper Il Mattino.
 
“What happened represents a real, tangible attack on the state,” he said, adding that the protests had been planned for at least a week and coordinated on social media.
 
Italian security chiefs are working closely with regional authorities amid concerns that crime groups could instigate further violence in the coming days, Italian news agency Ansa reports.

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