Italy braces from unrest as Covid pass becomes mandatory for workers

Written by on November 19, 2021

Police were out in force, schools ended classes early and embassies issued warnings of possible violence amid concerns that the anti-vaccination demonstrations could turn violent, as they did in Rome last weekend.

Peoples tempers are rising as Italy brings in the mandate for the Green Pass. The violence in the capital was blamed on a small far-right group, Forza Nuova, which experts say infiltrated last weekend’s protests.

The new rule means employees will have to show the pass to enter their place of work. The pass proves the individual has been vaccinated, has recovered from COVID-19 in the last six months and or has recently tested negative.

Employees and employers risk fines if they don’t comply. Public sector workers can be suspended if they show up five times without the pass.

You must have a pass in Italy to enter museums, theatres, gyms and indoor restaurants, as well as to take long-distance trains and buses or domestic flights.

It’s reported that more than 85% of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one dose, but up to three million more, unvaccinated, are at risk of being denied access to their workplaces.

“Today they are stepping on our Constitution,” said a protester, Loris Mazzarato. “I say NO to this discrimination.”

He was among the hundreds of demonstrators in Trieste, where protests by port workers refusing to show a Green Pass threatened to impact commercial activities, though early reports suggested the port remained operational.

Ivano Russo, director-general of Confetra, the Italian General Confederation of Transport and Logistics, an employers’ association, told AFP that out of a total of 900,000 truck drivers, couriers and warehouse workers, “between 25 and 30 %” do not have a health pass.

The government has offered free tests to dockers in Trieste, while some terminal operators in the port of Genoa offer to pay themselves.

“The real problem with the Green Pass for the port of Genoa, and in general for all ports, will be road transport,” Roberto Gulli, of the Uil union, told La Repubblica newspaper. “There could be chaos on Friday.”

The government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has defended the health pass as a way to avoid further lockdowns in Italy, one of the European countries hardest hit by the pandemic, which has killed more than 130,000 and led to a drop in its GDP of 8.9% in 2020.

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