Hundreds of youths hurling fire bombs and overturning cars clashed with police in Milan on Tuesday night (7 December) in an attempt to block the opening night festivities of the La Scala Opera House.
GV Police outside La Scala
SV PAN ALONG Police lined up outside (3 shots)
SV Billboard for "Otello" PAN TO policemen
SV People entering La Scala for performance (7 shots)
GV Neon lights above riot police in square
SV PAN INT Broken glass and debris in building (2 shots)
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Background: Hundreds of youths hurling fire bombs and overturning cars clashed with police in Milan on Tuesday night (7 December) in an attempt to block the opening night festivities of the La Scala Opera House.
SYNOPSIS: A force of about 2,500 police were called in from northern Italian cities to contain the demonstration. Their aim was to keep the angry demonstrators, and the violence far way from the 198-year-old opera house in the centre of Milan. They were successful and the opening night's performance of Verdi's Otello went on. The demonstrators were protesting that tickets for the State-owned opera were over-priced selling for as much as 100 pounds sterling (140,000 lire) each.
The left wing regard the opera as an instrument for the rich to show off their clothes and their money. Cinema shows have also been disrupted in recent weeks because their prices were considered to be too high for working class filmgoers. The thousands of riot police guarding the theatre fired tear gas into crowds of demonstrators outside. There were baton charges and about 100 young people were arrested. Most shops in the area near the cathedral, the arcade and La Scala Square closed early after leftist groups had announced their intention to disrupt the performance. In the clash, telephone booths were damaged and two fire bombs were thrown.