Italian police use water cannon on port protesters

Rome (AFP) –


Police in Italy used water cannon and tear gas against protesters at the northeastern port of Trieste on Monday following a three-day demonstration against a new mandatory workplace Covid pass.

Dozens of police in riot gear faced off against hundreds of remaining demonstrators and port workers who began blocking one of the port entrances Friday to protest the introduction of the "Green Pass".

"Liberty, liberty!" shouted protesters, as others yelled "We're not violent, put down your shields".

Police managed to clear the entrance after a few hours of standoff, pushing demonstrators to a nearby parking lot from which they then marched towards the city centre.

Italian news agency AGI reported that by Friday afternoon, more than a thousand protesters were participating in a sit-in at Trieste's main plaza.

Trieste dock workers had called a strike Friday despite being offered free Covid tests, and their protest attracted demonstrators from out of town.

The Green Pass, which offers proof of vaccination, recent recovery from Covid-19 or a negative test, became mandatory in all workplaces on Friday throughout Italy.

The new regulation spurred a wave of protests across the country, although most were small and not disruptive.

More than 6,500 people demonstrated at the Trieste port, however, at the height of the protest Friday.

Although more than 85 percent of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one vaccine dose, qualifying them for the pass, there remain up to three million workers estimated to be unvaccinated.