COVID Demonstrations Hit Florence

Shops preparing for tonight’s demonstration in downtown Florence. Photo credit Repubblica Firenze

Unlike the U.S. protesters in Italy reserve public space for peaceful demonstrations which are organized to communicate a point of view.  Such was the case this morning, October 30, in Florence’s Piazza Santa Croce which was the venue for the food deliverers of Just Eat, Glovo, Deliveroo, Uber Eats, who belong to a trade union (they usually use a moped or bicycle and are known locally as “riders”).  They were protesting the elimination of a projected November pay increase also given the fact that their job is becoming more essential and work hours are lengthening due to the fact that restaurants must close at 6 pm and are relying on take out for dinner orders.

Mayor Nardella addressed the Piazza Santa Croce demonstrators, also noting his concern for another protest scheduled in Piazza Signoria at 9 pm, and called those who are expected to show up “fascists.”  Unlike the morning event, which was peaceful as is the norm in Italy and for which the organizers requested authorization to gather, no permit was applied for the evening demonstration, which was publicized via WhatsApp by far-right extremists.  Nearby squares and streets such as piazza della Repubblica and via Roma are being sealed off to prevent the spread of protestors.  From the Gucci Museum to Rinascente and Luisa via Roma, proprietors boarded up shop windows.  This precaution was taken in case of violence, which is expected in the wake of related recent incidents in Rome, Naples, Milan and Turin where a great deal of  anger relating to the economic and social fall-out caused by the Coronavirus health emergency was vented.  (rosanna cirigliano)

To read more in Italian and to see a photo gallery, visit Florence’s La Repubblica news site.