Martedì, 16 Ottobre 2018
ROME

Probes into 'brutality', ministry tear gas in Rome protests

English
© ANSA

Rome, November 16 - The handling of this week's
anti-austerity protests continued to come under scrutiny on
Friday, when probes were launched into the firing of tear gas
from the justice ministry in Rome and alleged police brutality.
An amateur video obtained by daily newspaper La Repubblica
caused a huge furore as it showed three tear gas canisters being
fired in quick succession from the second floor of the ministry
in Via Arenula.
Commentators said that there had never been anything of the
sort even in Italy's 'Years of Lead' of political violence of
the 1970s and 80s.
Justice Minister Paola Severino said she had ordered an
internal investigation into the incident during Wednesday's
anti-austerity protests in Rome that were part of the
continent-wide European Day of Action and Solidarity.
Rome's chief of police, Fulvio Della Rocca, admitted later
on Friday that his officers were responsible, but denied they
had behaved recklessly.
"The tear gas from the ministry was fired by police
officers: the canisters were fired in a parabola not in the
direction of the demonstrators. The trajectory was redirected
because the canisters hit the building," said Della Rocca.
Rome prosecutors, meanwhile, opened an probe into possible
police brutality during the protests.
The probe will also look into any unlawful behavior on the
part of protesters, who filled streets in thousands.
Scenes of mayhem were captured on video, and images of
apparent acts of police brutality have prompted Interior
Minister Anna Maria Cancellieri to vow that officers who used
excessive violence will be punished.
Della Rocca also defended his force's actions against the
protesters, who were composed primarily of trade unionists and
students but also included violent extremist elements.
"If at a certain point we are militarily attacked,
obviously we need to react, because we're also here for that
reason, to enforce the law. That is our role," he said.
In the Sicilian city of Palermo three police officers were
injured on Friday in clashes with young people taking part in a
student protest in Palermo against the government's austerity
policies.
The officers were hit during a charge to clear a central
area, near the Sicilian city's cathedral, after protesters moved
towards a venue where Senate Speaker Renato Schifani was taking
part in a conference.
The police came under a barrage of stones, bottles and
firecrackers during the clashes.

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