Oct 10, 2021 12:30 UTC

Riot police clashed with dozens of people who gathered in the streets of Rome to protest the government's new COVID-19 "green passes."

Saturday night saw riot police grapple with protesters and fire projectiles towards crowds, after thousands had demonstrated against the new government rules earlier in the day.

The certification in Italy, known as a "Green Pass," is set to take effect on 15 October, and requires people to have either had a COVID-19 vaccine or recent negative test to access public and private workplaces.

Both employees and employers risk fines if they don't comply. Workers in the public sector can be suspended if they show up five times without a Green Pass.

During the summer, Green Passes were already required in Italy to enter museums, theaters, gyms and indoor restaurants, as well as to take long-distance trains and buses or domestic flights.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi's government has credited the Green Pass requirement for workplaces for a surge of vaccinations, with 80% of those aged 12 or older now fully vaccinated.

Similar protests took place Saturday in other Italian cities, including Milan and Trento.