Italy's Own QAnon Shaman Joins Violent Anti-Lockdown Protest

Published April 7th, 2021 - 12:41 GMT
Anti-riot policemen (L) use batons against protesters during skirmishes in a demonstration
Anti-riot policemen (L) use batons against protesters during skirmishes within a demonstration of restaurant owners, entrepreneurs and small businesses owners on April 6, 2021 outside parliament on Piazza Montecitorio in Rome, against closures and against Italy's Health minister policy, during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Owners of restaurants, bars, pubs and pizzerias said they will open the doors of their premises from April 7 despite restrictions, as "a matter of survival". Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP
Several protesters said they would open from April 7, despite restrictions which should see them shut until May.  

Italy's own QAnon Shaman joined a violent anti-lockdown protest with restaurant owners in Rome on Tuesday. 

The hairy horn-wearing imitator had painted his face in the colours of the Italian flag in an apparent reference to Jacob Chansley's attire at the Capitol riots on January 6.

Chansley became one of the most recognizable faces of the Capitol riot after being pictured shirtless and carrying an American flag on a spear-topped pole. He is currently being held in jail awaiting a trial. 

Italy's version, however, joined restaurant and small business owners angry at having their businesses shut for weeks due to a virus lockdown as they clashed with police outside Parliament in Rome. 

Protests also took part in southern Italy, where demonstrators blocked a major highway. 

One officer was injured in the scuffling, the Italian news agency LaPresse said. At least seven protesters were detained by police, according to RAI state TV.

Many in the crowd of a few hundred protesters outside the Chamber of Deputies lowered their masks to shout 'Work!' and 'Freedom!'. Some hurled smoke flares or other objects.

Several protesters said they would open from April 7, despite restrictions which should see them shut until May.  

Dining and drinking at restaurants, bars and cafes is currently banned through at least April. Only takeout or delivery services are permitted.

Officers charged some protesters after they tried to breach a police cordon. Members of a far-right political group joined the business owners at the protest, according to the Italian news agency ANSA.

Among the demonstrators was Hermes Ferrari, owner of a restaurant in Modena, a city in northern Italy. 

He boasted that he has defied authorities for months in opening his establishment to diners in breach of government decrees.

Even as the fines piled up 'I was able to pay my workers,' Ferrari said, by keeping the business open.

Ferrari shouted to fellow restaurant owners at the protest to follow his lead.

'You have to open because nobody can tell you to close,' he yelled.

Italy's current and previous governments have allocated millions of euros in aid to categories particularly hard-hit by pandemic restrictions.

The business owners insist they need to re-open permanently. 

Restaurants and cafes in regions with lower incidence of cases and less critically impacted hospital ICUs - so-called yellow zones - have been allowed at times to have sit-down dining and drinking during the day.

But a current surge in infections, driven mainly by virus variants, has seen daily new caseloads in the tens of thousands and hundreds of COVID-19 deaths a day now for months. 

That prompted the Italian government to temporarily eliminate the yellow zone designation from before the Easter holidays through the rest of April.

Expressing solidarity with the injured police officer, Interior Ministry Undersecretary Carlo Sibilia said 'violence won't be tolerated.'

Still, Sibilia, from the populist 5-Star Movement, called on the government, besides concentrating on the vaccine roll out, to provide 'immediately, new compensatory funds for economic activities closed or penalized by the recent restrictions.'

Sibilia pressed for government guarantees of loans, a moratorium on mortgage payments, a stop to evictions, and compensation for income lost due to COVID-19 measures.

Hours earlier, near the southern city of Caserta, another protest blocked traffic on the A1 Highway. 

Among the hundreds of demonstrators were those who work in outdoor markets and owners of gyms and restaurants, the Italian news agency LaPresse said. Gyms have also been closed for months.

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese decried as unacceptable protests that turn violent or that inconvenience citizens.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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