Italy orange vest protests erupt demanding an end to the coronavirus lockdown

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Demonstrators claiming Covid-19 is a “trick” took to the streets over the weekend. Protests were held in cities including Rome, Milan, Bologna, Florence, Turin and Bergamo.

Huge crowds flouted social distancing restrictions as they took part in the demonstrations across the country.

Some protesters wore orange vests, while others waved flags and many did not have face masks.

They called for a new government and a return to the Italian lira.

In the capital around 200 people clashed with police.

And in Milan hundreds of protesters gathered at the Piazza del Duomo.

They were led by the former general of the carabinieri Antonio Pappalardo.

Milan’s mayor Beppe Sala branded the protest an “act of irresponsibility”.

He tweeted: “I asked the prefect to report the organisers of the so-called ‘orange vest’ demonstration.

“This is an act of irresponsibility in a city like Milan that is trying so hard to overcome the difficult situation it is going through.”

Bergamo’s mayor Giorgio Gori also hit out at the “Covid-19 deniers”.

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He said on Twitter: “If there is a place where a demonstration of irresponsible Covid-19 deniers – the self-proclaimed ‘orange vests’ – is outrageous and unbearable it is Bergamo.

“A few dozen mad people, but even that is too much. I hope they are identified and reported.”

Italy has been one of the worst-hit countries by the coronavirus pandemic with 232,997 confirmed cases and 33,415 deaths.

It has started to lift strict restrictions after months under lockdown.

Italy’s orange vest demonstrations come after the yellow vest movement in France.

The yellow vest protests started in November 2018 in a row over fuel prices.

But they have escalated into a wider anti-Government movement.

Additional reporting by Maria Ortego.

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