Wednesday, October 19, 2011

È inferno a Roma

That was the headline of the Italian newspapers: Corriere della sera last Sunday and means something like “Hell has broken loose in Rome”. Probably all of you have heard about the recent protests at the Wall Street. Last Saturday the movement swapped over to Europe and raised demonstrations in many big European cities, also in Rome. Thousands of people all around the globe protested against the difficult social as well as economical situation and especially against the big gap between poor and rich. The demonstrations here in Rome started at Termini, the central train station. Around 200.000 people from all across Italy gathered here to follow the huge demonstration processions which lead through parts of the city centre until San Giovanni, one of the districts.

The demonstration seemed to be peaceful, but circa 500 people started to get very aggressive during the procession. They wore motorcycle helmets, were totally masked and equipped with baseball bats and fireworks. According to the newspapers there have been 2000 police men and Carabineri on duty, but they could not get the furious hooligans immobilized.

I did not actively take part in the demonstrations, because I already had other plans on Saturday. However, I was invited for dinner at a friend’s place. He is living in the street where the demonstration procession went through and accidentally, I was right in it. When I walked down Via Cavour - a big street close to Termini - I saw the huge destruction dine by the hooligans. Most expensive cars were not recognizable anymore. I saw cars such as the Audi Q7 or a Jaguar which were almost completely burned down. The hooligans even destroyed one Carabineri car and set on fire parts of the ministry of defence. They smashed windows of banks as well as those of expensive shops. Petrol stations where destroyed and buildings covered with graffiti’s. The street looked totally different than before. According to the newspapers 70 people were hurt and the damage costs have been estimated to more than €1 million. The demonstrations are still headline, but soon there will be another event in Rome which will occupy the journalists.

To sum, it was very interesting to once see such a demonstration, but it should never have gotten so out-of-control.

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