Protest against Israeli exhibitors at jewellery fair turns violent in Italy

Police fired water cannons as they clashed violently with pro-Palestine demonstrators protesting the presence of Israeli exhibitors at an international jewellery exhibition in Vicenza.

Hundreds of protestors had attended a planned march to oppose Israel’s inclusion at the Vicenzaoro fair, one of the biggest industry events in the gold and jewellery world.

Footage of the unrest shows protestors firing smoke bombs and flares as the two groups police rammed against each other.

Lines of officers wearing blue hard hats and carrying shields appeared to be trying to push the group back.
Some protestors could be seen holding up banners saying “free Palestine” and “stop bombing Gaza.”

Sirens could also be heard as a water cannon was fired at the crowd, with demonstrators attempting to take cover from the blast behind their signs.

In other clips, police officers could be seen dragging a protester away and hitting him with a baton.

More than 1,300 exhibitors from almost 40 countries are showing at the Vicenzaoro fair, which opened on Friday and runs until Tuesday.

This year, Israel had been given its own pavilion at the fair, according to Press TV.

Missiles were thrown at police
Missiles were thrown at police - PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP
A riot police officer tries to reach his shield on the ground
A riot police officer tries to reach his shield on the ground - PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP

A Vicenzaoro spokesman said the clashes took place several miles away and had no impact on the event, while declining to give information on the Israeli presence at the fair.

Giacomo Possamai, the mayor of north-east Italian city, said 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 said on social media.

Earlier Germano Raniero, a member of the Boycott Israel Group, told PressTV that Israel’s “diamonds are drenched in blood”.

Khaled Al Zeer, who is part of the region’s Palestinian community, said he is “against having Israel at the Vicenzaoro fair”.

‘‘It’s immoral for everybody and mostly for our city doing business with a country that is standing before the International Court of Justice is dishonorable, a country that is committing genocide now as we speak.”

Hamas launched an attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in the death of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians.

Militants also seized about 250 hostages, around 132 of whom Israel says remain in Gaza. At least 27 captives are believed to have been killed.

Vowing to destroy Hamas, Israel has been conducting a relentless air and ground offensive in Gaza that has killed at least 24,927 Palestinians, around 70 percent of them women, children and adolescents, according to the health ministry in Hamas-run territory.

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