A masked anti-Israel mob attacked police over the presence of a single Israeli stall at a trade fair in Vicenza in northern Italy last Saturday.
Police fired water cannons after hundreds of protesters threw flares during clashes described by local officials as an “urban guerrilla war” and a “serious episode of intolerance and antisemitism”.
The annual jewellery fair, Vicenzaoro, is one of the biggest trade events in the jewellery world. This year, the 70th-anniversary celebration exhibition involved more than 1,300 exhibitors from approximately 40 countries, including Israel.
Protesters objected to Israel’s inclusion and planned a demonstration to oppose the presence of the Jewish state at the fair.
The protesters fired smoke bombs and flares as lines of officers carrying shields appeared to try and push the group back. The groups rammed each other. Sirens could be heard, and, in one clip, police officers could be seen dragging a protester away and beating him with a baton.
A member of the Boycott Israel Group, Germano Raniero, told Press TV that Israel’s “diamonds are drenched in blood”.
Giacomo Possamai, the mayor of the north-east Italian city, said on social media that there was “no justification” for the violence.
“It also hurts the causes that it claims to support - it is a contradiction in terms to demonstrate for peace and a ceasefire through violence,” he went on.
The general secretary of the Coisp police union, Domenico Pianese, told Il Resto del Carlino: “It was clear right from the start that these troublesome and violent characters had taken to the streets with the sole intention of giving rise to a real urban guerrilla war.
“Regardless of how you think about a certain issue, violence can never be considered legitimate. This is why we hope that the political class, across the board, distances itself from those who attack policemen: no alibi for them."
The president of the October 7 Association, Stefano Parisi, said the riot was a “very serious episode of intolerance and antisemitism”.
A spokesperson for Vicenzaoro said, “the protest was held several kilometres away from the Expo Centre and did not affect the trade show in any way”.