Police patrolled rubble-littered streets in the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria early Friday (17 July) following three days of violence which claimed one life and left another 150 people injured.
Police patrolled rubble-littered streets in the southern Italian city of Reggio Calabria early Friday (17 July) following three days of violence which claimed one life and left another 150 people injured. The violence was caused by fears that Reggio Calabria may be passed over as capital of the newly-formed Calabria region in favour of a smaller town.
During the three previous days of rioting, building were set on fire, cars and buses were wrecked, cobblestones were thrown at police and barricades set up in streets all over the city.
Police, strengthened to about 3,000 men by reinforcements from other Italian cities, spent much of Friday morning patrolling in the streets with batons drawn in an effort to keep the rioting from erupting again. The previous night, the fighting had reached a new peak as demonstrators armed with cobblestones, iron bars and petrol bombs fought pitched battles with police.
Police used tear gas and baton charges to scatter demonstrators. Rioters also attacked the Provincial Administration Building on Thursday (16 July), smashing in the front door and setting fire to offices. Firemen had to be protected by police in order to put out the blaze.
Later on Friday, police again had to use teargas to disperse stone-throwing demonstrators as violence flared for the fourth consecutive day. The city was still largely cut off from the outside world with the central railway station occupied by demonstrators and access roads obstructed by road blocks.
The decision on the choice of regional capital is regarded locally not only as a question of civic pride, but also as an issue of economic importance. It is thought that the new regional government, set up as part of last month's nation-wide election, will create many new jobs in one of Italy's areas of highest unemployment.