Starting at 2pm today, a large protest wound its way through central Rome, down Via Cavour, past the Colosseum and up Via Labicana and Via San Giovanni in Laterano. Despite the smoke that rose above the Colosseum and surrounding buildings from a car that was lit on fire on Via Cavour, the protest was relatively peaceful. People were buying beers for 3.50 from a beer–I mean protest–bus, waving flags, and carrying signs.
However, when the protest reached Via Labicana, things changed for the worse. We heard a large explosion, then a group of several people running away from it with black masks on. It turns out at least 4 cars were lit on fire. As the protest moved towards San Giovanni, tear gas was dropped and helicopters continue to circle the area. Apparently the defense and labor buildings were (are?) on fire.
What is this protest? How was it started? Trending in Italy as 15o (15 October), Rome’s protest was just one among many around the globe. It is estimated that around 200,000 people attended, having bused in from all over the country. Calling themselves the “indignati,” indignant / angry, the protesters refuse to pay for the debt that they believe bankers and politicians created.
Near San Giovanni right now (7:30pm), helicopters are still circling and the occasional explosion still heard…