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Riots in Rome: Protestors clash with police in Italian capital during second night of demonstrations

Far right protestors have clashed with police in Rome in what is the second night of demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions in Italy.  

Violence once again erupted as huge crowds of activists descended on the city this evening, with footage showing flares being thrown and fireworks being let off as police armed with riot shields tried to stand their ground. 

The scenes in the capital mirrored those seen in Naples on Friday night, where hundreds of people took to the streets to oppose tougher measures being imposed to curb the spread of the virus.

COVID-19 cases across Italy have risen seven-fold since the start of the month, and the nation reported 19,644 new infections on Saturday.

The Government is now considering further restrictions including early closures of bars and restaurants to contain a resurgence of the pandemic.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he wants to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdown earlier in the year. But a number of regions have imposed overnight curfews and the central government is expected to announce more measures soon.

Conte pledged on Saturday to speed up help for businesses suffering in the crisis but said the weeks ahead would be very complex. 'We cannot lower our guard,' he added.

Far right protestors have clashed with police in Rome in what is the second night of demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions in Italy

Violence once again erupted as huge crowds of activists descended on the city this evening, with footage showing flares being thrown as police armed with riot shields tried to stand their ground

The scenes in the capital (pictured) mirrored those seen in Naples on Friday night, where hundreds of people took to the streets to oppose tougher measures being imposed to tame the virus 

COVID-19 cases across Italy have risen seven-fold since the start of the month, and the nation reported 19,644 new infections on Saturday

The Government is now considering further restrictions including early closures of bars and restaurants to contain a resurgence of the pandemic

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said he wants to avoid a repeat of the blanket lockdown earlier in the year. But a number of regions have imposed overnight curfews and the central government is expected to announce more measures soon

Conte pledged on Saturday to speed up help for businesses suffering in the crisis but said the weeks ahead would be very complex. 'We cannot lower our guard,' he added

According to a draft decree, public gyms and swimming pools may be closed and bars and restaurants told to shut from 6pm, while people will be encouraged not to travel outside their home districts

Like many authorities across Europe, the Italian government is desperate not to close down the economy completely but is facing growing public anger at renewed restrictions that are being imposed to limit public gatherings

A police officer moves an electric scooter used by demonstrators to block the street during a protest against measures put in place to curb coronavirus in Rome

Italian police officers arrest an extreme far right Forza Nuova party activist during a protest against the government restriction measures

According to a draft decree, public gyms and swimming pools may be closed and bars and restaurants told to shut from 6pm, while people will be encouraged not to travel outside their home districts.

Like many authorities across Europe, the Italian government is desperate not to close down the economy completely but is facing growing public anger at renewed restrictions that are being imposed to limit public gatherings.

Late on Friday, crowds in the southern city of Naples clashed with police in protest against a night-time curfew in the Campania region.

Earlier in the week, overnight curfews were ordered by local governors in Campania, Lazio around the capital Rome, and Lombardy, the epicentre of the first wave where the financial capital Milan recorded more than 1,000 new cases on Saturday.

The northern region of Piedmont and Sicily in the south will follow next week and other regions are expected to match them.

With public health services coming under strain, authorities have reopened temporary intensive care facilities built during the first phase. Despite this, Italy's top public health body warned on Friday services were approaching crisis point.

The mortality rate remains well below the earlier peak of more than 900 deaths in a day but it has moved up steadily, with 151 deaths reported on Saturday. 

Vincenzo De Luca, the head of Campania, based in Naples, has set the pace, shutting schools and announcing a nighttime curfew. On Friday, he said even more was needed.

'Current data on the contagion make any kind of partial measure ineffective. It is necessary to close everything, except for those businesses that produce and transport essential goods,' De Luca said on Facebook.

'We need to make one last effort to get things under control. We need to shut everything down for a month, for 40 days,' he added, without saying when the shutdown would begin.

The governor of Lombardy, which includes Italy's financial capital Milan, said on Friday his region faced a 'dramatic situation' and urged locals to respect a curfew that runs from 11pm to 5am, amongst other measures.

A waiter closes a bar terrace in Marseille, southern France, as businesses continue to be hit by the nation's Covid curfew

People walk home on an otherwise empty street after the curfew in Marseille, southern France, on Saturday evening

View of a deserted Puerta del Sol at 12pm as part of a city-wide night time curfew in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday night

View of a deserted Puerta del Sol at 12pm as part of a city-wide night time curfew in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday night

Police officers check a vehicle after the Greek government impose the curfew from midnight to 5 am in order to contain the coronavirus

A police officer checks a driver's documents verifying permission of movement, after the Greek government imposed a night curfew 

A smoke grenade is set off in the streets in Warsaw as police officers wearing protective gear and holding shields clash with protesters

A protester is detained by police officers as demonstrators flood onto the streets in Warsaw amid the coronavirus pandemic

There were flames and smoke in Naples on Friday night as a mass protest took place against the city's new Covid curfew

Prostestors clashed with police in Naples on Friday as a curfew was imposed to curb the growing spread of coronavirus

Hundreds of activists, many wearing face coverings, took to the city's streets on Friday to oppose a lockdown being imposed to tame the virus as new infections hit a record high

A garbage can was set on fire in front of the Campania Region headquarters during the protest over the Naples curfew

There were also protests in Poland yesterday as hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Warsaw to oppose the new virus restrictions after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki declared the entire country a 'red zone'.  

By contrast, the streets of Marseille and Madrid, where curfews are also in place, were largely deserted, while police in the Greek capital of Athens were checking drivers' documents to ensure they were allowed to be out in the city after 12.30.

It comes as the number of cases continues to rise across the globe, with France and the US both posting record numbers of daily infections yesterday.

Some 45,422 new coronavirus cases were confirmed in France over the past 24 hours, on top of 42,032 on Friday.

Health Ministry data also showed that 138 people had died from virus infection in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 34,645.

The total number of confirmed cases rose to 1,086,497, after breaking above the 1 million mark for the first time on Friday.

The ministry also said that 16% of all coronavirus tests were positive, a new high and more than double the level of a month ago.

A curfew was put in place earlier this month and the streets of Paris were again eerily quiet on Saturday night as bars and restaurants were forced to close up at a time when business would normally be booming.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, more than 84,000 people were diagnosed with COVID-19 in the United States on Friday = a record one-day increase in infections during the pandemic.

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