Oct 25, 2020 14:08 UTC
  • Italians protest COVID-19 restrictions as Europe struggles to contain new surge

Italians have taken to the streets for the second consecutive night against new anti-coronavirus restrictions, as more countries move to tighten social distancing rules to fight surges in the pandemic across Europe.

Protests erupted, shortly after a new curfew was imposed in the capital Rome on Sunday. Around 200 masked far-right protesters, throwing flares and firecrackers, clashed with police.

Police arrested at least seven people during the rally, which was followed by clashes in the southern city of Naples on Friday night.

The protest came after the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte ordered new measures to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdown earlier in the year.

Conte pledged to speed up help for businesses suffering in the crisis but said the weeks ahead would be very difficult, saying, “We cannot lower our guard.”

According to a draft decree circulated on Saturday, public gyms and swimming pools may be closed and bars and restaurants told to shut from 6 p.m.

Authorities also urged people not to travel outside their home districts.

Still, a number of regions have imposed overnight curfews and the central government is expected to announce more measures soon.