Thousands of protesters, including members of far-right groups, demonstrated on Saturday against the expansion of the COVID-19 health pass system at all workplaces in central Rome.
A scuffle broke out with police as protesters targeted health passes, which have been required to enter museums, sporting events and restaurants since August.
Although the march was authorised, several hundred people broke away from the main pillar and tried to march on Parliament.
Police used water cannons and tear gas to stop them, AGI news agency reported, arresting several protesters during the clashes.
A separate protest took place in the northern cities of Milan and Cesena, the capital and others in central Italy.
Three weeks ago the government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced that the scheme would be extended to all workplaces from 15 October and any workers refused to face suspension without pay.
Health pass system is already in place for all medical workers. This requires people to provide a certificate of vaccination, proof of recovery from COVID-19 or a recent negative test result.
Retired Maria Ballarin condemned “criminal and cowardly blackmail” by the Italian state.
He said that by not making vaccinations mandatory, but by forcing workers to take them “it absolves itself of any responsibility for fatal or dire consequences, but indirectly for vaccinating people to go to work.” obliges”, she said.
“We were both suspended two months ago,” Cosimo, one of the protesters, told AFP. He and his wife Morena are both nurses.
The couple say they have immunity and allergy problems and have been exempted from needing to be vaccinated by their family doctor.
But both were suspended without pay.
Stefano, who came from Como in the north to attend Saturday’s protests, said he would take the test. “I have to get paid to work, it’s absurd,” he said.
According to government figures, about 80 percent of people over the age of 12 in Italy have been fully vaccinated.
Italy, the first European country to feel the full force of the pandemic, has so far reported more than 130,000 deaths.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NB staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)