Italy braced today for more nationwide protests against virus-fighting measures — a sign of growing discontent across Europe with renewed coronavirus restrictions.
Countries are imposing regional curfews, evening shutdowns for restaurants and bars and the closures of gyms, swimming pools and theatres.
Police in the financial capital of Milan arrested 28 people after protests turned violent yesterday when police blocked their procession to the regional government headquarters.
And in Italy's industrial northern city of Turin, at least 11 people were arrested, including a pair who smashed the window of a Gucci boutique and stripped a mannequin of its lemon yellow trousers.
Italy is not the only country facing unrest. Europe is grappling with how to halt a resurgence of the virus before its hospitals become overwhelmed again.
Nightly curfews have been implemented in French cities and in Spain, and restaurants and bars in Italy must close at 6pm. Schools have been closed in Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic.
German officials have ordered de-facto lockdowns in some areas near the Austrian border and new mask-wearing requirements are popping up weekly across the continent, including a nationwide requirement in Russia.
"We would all like to live like before, but there are moments where you have to make tough decisions," French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said today as the Government held emergency meetings on the pandemic.
Yet in this new round of restrictions, governments are finding a less compliant public, even as the continent has seen over 250,000 confirmed deaths in the pandemic and last week recorded 46 per cent of the world's new infections, according to the World Health Organisation.
Over the weekend, police used pepper spray against protesters angry over new virus restrictions in Poland. Spanish doctors staged their first national walkout in 25 years today to protest against poor working conditions, and other protests were planned in the Netherlands.
In Britain, anger and frustration at the Government's uneven handling of the pandemic has erupted into a political crisis over the issue of hungry children. The Conservative Government is under huge pressure to keep giving free school lunches to children from lower-income families when schools close during the current midterm break and the Christmas holidays.
Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte's Cabinet was preparing a new decree with 5 billion euros in economic remedies for those hurt by the new restrictions that took effect yesterday.
The violence of protests that erupted in major Italian cities from Milan to Turin to Naples indicated that the promise of government relief offered little salve to frustrations over a tightening of personal freedoms after a relatively care-free summer, and as many businesses are still trying to get back on their feet.