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Police target anti-vax extremists in nationwide operation

Suspects face charges that include criminal association

(ANSA) - ROME, NOV 18 - Italian postal police staged a nationwide operation on Thursday to search the homes of 29 people suspected of belonging to extremist anti-vaccine groups and potentially dangerous protestors against the Green Pass COVID-19 health certificate active on Telegram.
    The suspects face charges including instigation to interrupt pubic services and criminal association.
    Several recent protests against the Green Pass COVID-19 health certificate have turned violent and caused massive disruption in many cities.
    Politicians, journalists and top Italian doctors have also been threatened by anti-vaccine, anti-Green Pass extremists.
    Thursday's operation is not the first of its kind.
    Police on Monday searched the homes of 17 anti-vaccine extremists who are accused of instigation to use weapons and commit crimes against leading figures in Italy's public institutions, including Premier Mario Draghi.
    Monday's operation was related to a probe into threats made via the 'Basta Dittatura' (End Dictatorship) channel-chat on the Telegram app.
    The channel has been closed because of its content.
    There were calls for a new March on Rome, threats to shoot and hang officials or kneecap them as Red Brigades terrorists did in the 1970s.
    "Cursed be Draghi, for all time," said one of the massages after a threat to place bombs under Italy's institutions.
    There were also threats to stage 'Nuremberg #2' trials against journalists guilty of perpetuating "lies".
    The Green Pass, which shows that a person is vaccinated for COVID-19, has recovered from it in the last six months or tested negative in the last few days, became obligatory to access places of work in Italy a month ago. (ANSA).


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