Anti-Israel protest at Italy jewellery fair turns violent

VICENZA: Protesters clashed with police in the Italian city of Vicenza on Saturday (Jan 20) after a demonstration against the presence of Israeli exhibitors at an international jewellery fair.

Police used water cannon against demonstrators who fired smoke bombs and flares after violence erupted after a planned march by hundreds of people, some holding up banners saying “Free Palestine” and “Stop Bombing Gaza”.

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

A spokesperson told AFP the clashes took place several kilometres away and had no impact on the event, while declining to give information on the Israeli presence at the fair.

Vicenza mayor Giacomo Possamai 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 in a statement posted on social media.

Palestinian militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on Israel on Oct 7, resulting in the death of about 1,140 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official figures.

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, according to an AFP tally based on Israeli figures.

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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