I just wanted to write a short little post about this weekend’s violent protests in Rome. From reading the news reports, it seems that peaceful protests by demonstrators angry over the Berlusconi government were “hijacked” by an anarchist group (see this Wikipedia post on “black bloc“). These angry protestors resorted to violence by attacking the police/carabinieri, shops and banks. While most protests around the world were peaceful, they did not remain so in Rome.
As a tourist and visitor to the city, it is important that one not get involved and stay away from these kinds of situations. Avoid demonstrations and protests. While protests and demonstrations are generally peaceful in Italy, it is always best to err on the side of caution to avoid personal injury.
Should you cancel your trip to Rome? Personally, I would not cancel my trip, but every person is different. It is important to understand that the political situation in Italy is very contentious. Many Italians are angry with the current government, which seems unable or unwilling to combat the economic and social problems facing the country. Laws are often crafted in such a way that they seem beneficial only to the ruling coalition, providing legal “shields” to the prime minister and his allies. Unemployment in Italy is high, especially among young people. The government seems more concerned with passing laws that work to restrict the freedom of information rather than finding ways to stimulate the economy or encourage job growth.
There are certainly problems in Italy. I do not believe that violence is an acceptable form of protest, and I deplore the damage caused by these protesters who detracted from the original intent and purpose of the demonstrations. However, given the political and economic climate in Italy, it does not surprise me. These events should spur the national and local leaders in Italy to do more to revive their country.
Do you plan to go to Rome soon? Are you nervous? Will you cancel your trip? Share your thoughts and opinions!
Updated: This political cartoon says it all, check it out!