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covid: protests and blockades: Italy prepares for new Covid rules

ROME: Italy braced for nationwide protests, lockdowns and potential disruptions on Friday as tough new coronavirus restrictions for workers went into effect.
All workers must show a so-called Green Pass, offering proof of vaccination, recent Covid-19 recovery or a negative test, or face being declared absent without pay.
More than 86 percent of Italians over the age of 12 have received at least one blow, so they automatically qualify for certification.
But it is estimated that up to three million workers are not vaccinated, and most will only be able to work if they pay for their own tests every 48 or 72 hours, depending on the type.
They include large numbers of people in the freight industry, and with many angry at the new rules and refusing to comply, there is fear of widespread economic disruption.
Ivano Russo, CEO of Confetra, a trade group, told AFP that of a total of 900,000 truckers, couriers and warehouse personnel employed by members of his lobby, “25-30 percent” do not have Covid certificates.
Dock workers in Trieste, a major hub in the northeast, have threatened to go on strike indefinitely, despite being offered free Covid tests. The same privilege has been extended to some dockers in Genoa, in the northwest.
“The real problem with the Green Pass for the port of Genoa, in general for all ports, will be road transport,” Roberto Gulli, from the Uil union, told La Repubblica newspaper.
“There could be chaos on Friday.”
However, more than 560,000 Green Passes were downloaded on Wednesday, according to government data, suggesting that the arrival of the new rules was boosting vaccines.
The government of Prime Minister Mario Draghi has defended the Green Pass as a way to avoid further lockdowns in Italy, where the economy is expected to post nearly six percent growth this year after a devastating Covid-induced recession.
It seems unlikely that ministers will agree to the calls for free Covid tests for all, but the ANSA news agency reported that they were considering greater tax breaks for companies that pay for them.
Protests against the pass were also expected across Italy on Friday, but the government hopes to prevent a repeat of last weekend’s demonstrations in Rome, which degenerated into violent clashes inflamed by far-right militants.
The unions are also planning an anti-fascist demonstration on Saturday.
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