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9 Mar, 2020 15:20

Italian prisoners RIOT over coronavirus safety measures (VIDEOS)

Italy, which is battling the worst Covid-19 outbreak in Europe, has experienced a series of prison riots in virus-plagued areas. The unrest has been triggered by a move to suspend family visits over the coronavirus threat.

“There have been a series of rebellions across the country,” Italy's prison administration head Francesco Basentini said on Monday.

The government’s efforts to contain the virus, which has already killed over 360 people across the nation, triggered riots at several prisons in Italy. While staying inside might be not the worst way to avoid the coronavirus, some prisoners, apparently, wanted to get in touch with it in person.

Footage filmed outside San Vittore Prison in Milan on Monday, shows prisoners roaming the roof of the facility and displaying banners reading ‘Pardon’ and ‘Freedom’. The rioters set some cells on fire and black smoke was seen emerging from the prison’s windows.


A group of the inmates’ relatives gathered outside of the prison to show support for the rioting prisoners. Some of them became rowdy and engaged in scuffles with riot police standing guard outside the correctional facility.

Prison riots also broke out in Modena and Pavia, which are also within the coronavirus lockdown zone. The correctional facilities were set on fire by inmates and sustained considerable damage, authorities have said.


At least six prisoners died amid unrest at a Modena jail – two overdosed on drugs stolen from an infirmary, while another one was found “blue in the face” and the cause of his death remains unclear. Three other inmates died after being transferred away from the prison under unspecified circumstances. In Pavia, two prison guards were briefly taken hostage by rioting inmates. The officials were freed during a police raid.

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Direct contact between prisoners and their families was limited by the Italian authorities on Sunday as the government effectively put the entire north of the country into a lockdown over the coronavirus spread. The prisoners, however, will still be able to contact visitors by phone and other indirect ways.

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