Saturday, October 15, 2011

Anti-Capitalist Rioters Turn Violent in Rome

Italian police fired tear gas and water cannons as protesters in Rome turned a demonstration against corporate greed into chaos on Saturday (October 15), smashing shop and bank windows, torching cars and hurling bottles. The protest in the Italian capital was part of "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations against capitalism and austerity measures that seemingly went global, leading to dozens of marches and protests worldwide.

Black smoke billowed into the air in downtown Rome as a small group broke away from the main demonstration and wreaked havoc in streets closed to the Colosseum. Protesters clad in black with their faces covered threw rocks, bottles and other objects at police. Some even held clubs and hammers. They threw incendiary devices and firecrackers at banks, destroyed bank ATMs and set trash bins on fire. Two news crews from Sky Italia were also assaulted.

According to the ANSA news agency, some protesters even trashed offices of the Defense Ministry and a labor agency, smashing windows with clubs and setting cars on fire. Police were out in force as up to 100,000 protesters were expected a day after Premier Silvio Berlusconi barely survived a confidence vote in Parliament. Italy is rapidly becoming a focus of concern in Europe's debt crisis.

"People of Europe: Rise Up!" read one banner amongst the rioters in Rome. Some peaceful demonstrators turned against the violent group and tried to stop them. Others fled, scared by the violence.

COMMENT: By far, the worst example of the anti-capitalist protests have been in New York City and other major US cities where hundreds of protesters have been arrested. Unfortunately, as in Rome, these hooligans, or rather criminals seem unwilling or unable to offer any value to society and appear to have become a growing societal pariah. Clearly, they have elevated anarchism to a new level and only hope that their parents are proud of them.

Sadly, some parents and educational systems have really failed if they have produced adults who use drugs and defecate and fornicate in public, as in the US. Then again, perhaps the protesters in the US and Italy desire nothing more from life but to be unproductive and suck up entitlements that the rest of us have to pay for. In the meantime, they seem pleased to bring helmets, gas masks, clubs and Molotov cocktails to what should be a peaceful protest.

Personally speaking, police in the US and elsewhere need to get much, much tougher with these anarchists and clear the streets for civilized people. Freedom of expression and freedom of speech rarely extends to disorderly conduct, breaking and entering, arson, destruction of property and depriving law-abiding citizens of the right to their freedoms.


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