The Italian government approved a law in September requiring all workers to show a Covid Green Pass, which provides proof of their vaccination status, negative test result or recent recovery from the virus. The move, some of the strictest Covid rules in the world, was a first for Europe.
Four days after the demonstration kicked off at the port, police demanded protesters leave the area “in the name of the law,” before firing tear gas and using water cannon. The gathered crowd of demonstrators were heard chanting “liberty! liberty!” and “people like us never give up!”
The sit-in protest has been ongoing since Friday, with the port’s president Zeno D’Agostino declaring on Sunday, ahead of the police operation, that “the situation can no longer be tolerated” as the region needs “a port that works.”
Protesters have said they intend to hold another demonstration at Trieste port on October 30, blocking “all of Italy” if the government continues to insist on the Covid Pass requirement for workers.
Estimates have suggested that around 40% of the workers at Trieste’s port are not vaccinated, according to Stefano Puzzer of the Port Workers Coordination of Trieste, with a segment of the city’s population opposing the vaccination program. Earlier this month, 4.5% of voters in the mayoral elections sided with an anti-vaccine party.
Regional governor Massimiliano Fedriga expressed concerns that the protest and need for police intervention will cause disruption to operations at the Trieste port, a major shipping hub for Italy. Similar protests have also been seen in Genoa, another major port in Italy, where protesters prevented access to trucks, potentially creating a wider issue across Italy.