'Rally in Rome hijacked by provocateurs'
The journalist reported that alongside the large march there were several hundreds rioters who intentionally defamed the peaceful gathering by unemployed protesters.
An estimated 100,000 protesters gathered in Rome, as they did in Madrid. The demonstrators consisted mostly of what Torealta called “people without a future” – educated people with university degrees but jobless and with little hope of finding employment.
Among the 100,000 protesters were perhaps 500 “hoodlums,” Torealta said, noting that they constituted less that 1 percent of those gathered in Rome. It was the provocateurs who attacked police, he said, pointing out that the latter reacted rather mildly.
“Of course there was violence, but it was not the major meaning of the day,” Torealta said.
Over the course of the day dozens of demonstrators were injured in Rome, as Italian police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd.
Protesters smashed shop windows, torched cars and hurled bottles as the demonstration against corporate greed and austerity measures turned violent.
“Of course media goes where the fire is, and now the media message is ‘anarchy in Rome’ – but it is not so, and also attacking police is completely meaningless,” Torealta said.
“The real problem [the protestors] were screaming about was ‘no money to bankers – money to people.’”
The journalist said the Italian police found themselves in a difficult situation because they did appear to be ready for such violence. He said that those who started the confrontation with law enforcement officers were masked teenagers.
“They do not have a chance of turning the Rome protests into something really violent,” Torealta declared.