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Alfano warns Pitchfork acts may drift into rebellion

Violence by protestors won't be tolerated, says minister

12 December, 12:29
Alfano warns Pitchfork acts may drift into rebellion (See related story) (ANSA) - Rome, December 12 - There is a risk that the Pitchfork (Forconi) Movement will become dangerously rebellious against national and European institutions, Interior Minister Angelo Alfano told the House Thursday.

Such a "rebellious drift" by the protest movement would be seen as "antagonistic" particularly if it attracts violent groups which too often infiltrate non-violent activism, said Alfano, who is also deputy premier.

He spoke as violence was reported at some of the Pitchfork protests, with police firing teargas and scuffling with demonstrators near Italy's border with France during the fourth day of action by the movement.

During a briefing on the state of public order in Italy, Alfano warned that although protest is acceptable in a democracy, violence won't be tolerated but instead, met with force.

"There is a violent face (to the movement) that has violated the laws: we understand the social unease, but at the time we do not have any hesitation in saying that we intend to defend the liberty and security of citizens," he said. Demonstrations have spread across the country since they began on Monday, with major northern cities including Milan, Turin and Genoa showing the greatest turnout.

Protesters opposed to tax hikes and austerity enforced by the European Union have been joined by others taking up different anti-government causes.

Many have occupied roads, squares and railways, snarling traffic, blocking trains and disrupting pre-Christmas commerce.