Few, but noisy. Thousands of people have taken to the streets this Saturday in several cities of Italy , in the largest protests against the health passport in the country since on July 22 the Government of Mario Draghi decided to penalize people who do not get vaccinated, preventing them from accessing to closed spaces of restaurants, bars, swimming pools or gyms.
A measure that, from the beginning, generated criticism from the far-right Brothers of Italy party ( Fratelli d’Italia ) whose leader Giorgia Meloni came to cross out the certificate as “the prelude to an Orwellian society.”
“Shame, shame!”, “Freedom, freedom!” and “No to the health dictatorship!” were some of the slogans chanted by the protesters, which were communicated through Telegram , the instant messaging service that for a week they have been using to organize their protests.
“Shout ‘Draghi resign’,” they wrote there. “I propose to start whistling in a deafening way,” others responded, shortly before they manifested themselves.
Deniers, religious and ultras
On the street, the demonstrations reflected the chaotic atmosphere that has surrounded the protest from the beginning: the mixture of deniers , religious fundamentalists and agitators trying to attract the attention of the media, as well as extremists from the right and left, and sectors of the population impoverished by the crisis. “They will not pass,” was heard – said like this, in Spanish – at the same time that Draghi’s resignation was called for.
There were no serious acts of violence , but altercations with the police did occur in the cities with the highest concentrations, including Milan , Rome and Naples . On the other hand, in Pesaro, where in the past few days the mayor Matteo Ricci received death threats for his positions in favor of vaccination , the demonstrations were severely restricted by strong security measures.
There were also darts for the media. “Sold! Sold! ”Was heard several times, while the Sky television channel was forced to interrupt a live show with one of its chroniclers in Naples by aggressive boos from a group of protesters. “If this were a dictatorship, maybe they wouldn’t be here,” another reporter commented.
The protests come at a time when, despite the fact that the passport enjoys the support of the majority of the population according to polls, the debate on the measure is also controversial among Italian intellectuals.
Proof of this has been a recent letter from the Venetian philosopher Massimo Cacciari who considered the health passport a “form of discrimination “, and emphasized the absence of definitive studies on the long-term consequences of vaccines.
Along the same lines, his counterpart Giorgio Agamben has criticized the “political use that is being made of the health passport.” “If we repress individual freedoms with decrees, democracy is at risk ,” Agamben concluded.
“Keeping those who decide not to be vaccinated at a distance is not discrimination, it is a basic measure to defend the freedom (and life) of others,” the writer Paolo Flores d’Arcais replied . The controversy may not end here.
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