SHARE
COPY LINK

PROTESTS

Strikes in Italy cause public transport misery and flight cancellations

Some 127 Alitalia flights have been cancelled on Monday and public transport has been disrupted across the country amid a 24-hour general strike, Italian media reports.

Arrival and departure boards show delayed and cancelled trains at Rome Termini station on October 11th during a general strike.
Arrival and departure boards show delayed and cancelled trains at Rome Termini station on October 11th during a general strike. Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP

Italian national carrier Alitalia confirmed in a statement that 127 national and international flights had been cancelled on Monday, with a further 11 cancellations on Tuesday due to the strike action.

Alitalia said it would be switching to bigger aircraft and rebooking flights, and advised passengers who were affected “to check on which flight they have been rebooked by logging in to the website www.alitalia.com and entering their name, surname and booking code in the ‘my flights’ section on the home page.”

READ ALSO: What are my rights in Italy if a flight is cancelled or delayed?

There were no reports of flight cancellations by other airlines, though there may be some delays or disruption on the ground at Italian airports with some staff on strike.

Meanwhile the city centres of Milan and Rome were jammed with traffic as many people opted to use cars amid fears of local public transport disruption.

Milan’s metro is operating on a normal schedule, stated city transport company ATM: “The service is continuing on all underground lines. Traffic could slow down the circulation of surface lines.” 

Rome’s metro system is operating “in fits and starts” on Monday, news agency Ansa reports, with line C closed and lines A and B operating on reduced service.

Trams and other forms of public transport in Milan may face delays due to heavy traffic, the city transport company warns. Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

Some roads and central squares in Rome are also closed to traffic on Monday because of demonstrations, including Piazza della Repubblica and Piazza Madonna di Loret.

Thousands of people are expected to march in Rome, where a heavy police presence was reported following violence on Saturday after a demonstration against vaccines and the green pass system.

Roads have also been blocked due to marches in other cities including Naples and Genova on Monday morning.

Alitalia workers in Rome hold a banner reading “All aboard. No to the ITA plan”. Photo: Tiziana FABI/AFP

The 24-hour general strike, for both public and private sector workers, was called by several of Italy’s national and regional trade unions to protest government labour and economic policies, including those on working hours and pensions, as well as calling for more investment in schools and transport.

Alitalia staff also took to the streets to protest the planned closure of the airline, which is set to end operations on Thursday and be replaced by new national carrier ITA from Friday.

The unions have stated in recent days that this is not a demonstration against the green pass, and sought to distance themselves from the violent protests seen in Rome and Milan this weekend, Ansa reports.

IN PICTURES: Demonstrators and far right clash with police in Rome after green pass protest

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

PROTESTS

Italy cracks down on Covid green pass protests

After one protest against Italy’s health pass sparked a Covid outbreak and others affected businesses and cultural sites, the government has ordered a clampdown.

Anti-green pass protestors walk past restaurants in Milan.
Anti-green pass protestors walk past restaurants in Milan on October 16th, 2021. Photo: Piero CRUCIATTI/AFP

Protests against Italy’s Covid-19 health certificate, called the ‘green pass’, will be restricted from this weekend under orders from Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese.

New measures will prevent protestors from entering shopping areas or historic centres and mean demonstrations are limited to sit-ins, rather than marches or rallies, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera reported on Tuesday.

EXPLAINED: Where do you now need to show a Covid green pass in Italy?

The ministry stated that the new rules are intended to “guarantee the rights of those who disagree, while protecting economic activity and the health of citizens”.

The rules also allow authorities to require protestors to wear masks at outdoor rallies.

The clampdown follows lobbying from Confcommercio, Italy’s retail confederation, which said the repeated disruption from demonstrations was impacting trade on weekends.

Confcommercio president Carlo Sangalli told Corriere della Sera: “Saturdays alone are worth more than 25 percent of weekly turnover for the retail and restaurant sectors, so the damage caused is very clear. Meanwhile we’re still feeling the consequences of the pandemic and risk a new surge.”

The number of protests against Italy’s health pass has risen in recent weeks following the expansion of the pass requirement to all workplaces.

The demonstrations, which tend to be relatively small but frequent and often disruptive, have now become a regular sight in central Milan, Rome and beyond.

Anti-green pass protestors in Turin’s Piazza Porta Palazzo on September 11th, 2021. Photo: Tino ROMANO/ANSA /AFP

The largest such protest, held in Rome on October 8th, attracted around 10,000 people. It later descended into violence as protestors affiliated with neo-fascist groups attacked buildings and clashed with police.

READ ALSO: Riots put Italian government under pressure to ban neo-fascist groups

Rome authorities rerouted all subsequent protest marches away from “sensitive” buildings such as government offices and trade union headquarters.

Protestors taking part in these marches have also been widely condemned for regularly comparing themselves to holocaust victims.

Protestors take part in an anti-green pass demonstration in Rome called by far-right Forza Nuova activists. Photo: Andreas SOLARO / AFP

Another large protest called by dock workers in the northern port city of Trieste attracted an estimated 7,000 people at its height and continued for several days, causing disruption to businesses using the port.

A coronavirus outbreak linked to the port protest is so far known to have resulted in 200 positive Covid cases and five hospitalisations, and made Trieste the centre of a surge in cases that risks new restrictions being applied to the surrounding Friuli-Venezia-Giulia region.

The city’s newly elected centre-right mayor Roberto Dipiazza subsequently banned protests in the central square, Piazza Unità d’Italia, saying they had “damaged the image of the city and threaten to take us backwards,” news agency Ansa reports, while the local prefecture said protestors had “launched objects” at protected cultural sites and were endangering the city’s heritage.

SHOW COMMENTS