One woman died and at least six people were injured during running street battles in Rome on Thursday (12 May) after police broke up a rally staged by Italy's small Radical Party.
One woman died and at least six people were injured during running street battles in Rome on Thursday (12 May) after police broke up a rally staged by Italy's small Radical Party. The party had organised a pop a festival following a government ban on demonstrations, but its supporters stress it was not designed as an attempt to defy the ban.
SYNOPSIS: Hundreds of police, in full riot gear, poured into the Piazza Navona and sealed the are off. A small group had gathered peacefully, trying to set up loudspeakers. They included invalids in wheelchairs and a pianist on a wooden platform playing Chopin. The Radicals had organised the festival to publicise their campaign to collect enough signatures to a petition calling for referenda aimed at abolishing conscription, military tribunal and the public financing of political parties.
Police, some of whom were dressed in bullet-proof vests, steel-lines gloves and helmets with plastic visors, charged a crowd of about 200 youths outside the piazza.
The youths, who had been shouting slogans against the ban on demonstrations, headed for a nearby square. There they tried to set up barricades and threw stones at the police. But the police chased them away, throwing tear gas at the retreating crowd.
The dead woman identified as 19-year-old Giorgina Massi, was walking near the River Tiber with her student boyfriend when she was shot in the stomach. Several political leaders later denounced what they called 'police aggression' and 'provocation by police' in dispersing the crowd. Seven people were taken into custody by police and they could faces charges of attempted murder, resisting public officials and unlawful assembly.
After the rioting, the government announced measures aimed at curbing political violence, organised crime and prison disorders.