The Turin prosecutor’s office directed police raids in several Italian cities of people thought to be involved with protests against the Green Pass, Italy’s domestic coronavirus vaccine passport.
The raids were conducted on Monday morning, with police claiming that many of those raided were known to them for having extremist links and criminal backgrounds, with prior convictions for theft and narcotics crimes.
The General Investigations and Special Operations Division (DIGOS) of Palermo claim to have found containers of an acid substance they allege extremists planned to throw at police, while the police in Brescia and Cremona claimed to have found knives and a crossbow during searches, Il Giornale reports.
The newspaper has also claimed that far-left anarchists and far-right extremists have both been present at some of the protests against the Green Pass, blaming the radicals for violence that has taken place at a number of protests between demonstrators and police.
Chats among protesters on online platforms, such as the encrypted app Telegram, have also allegedly seen death threats and planning of attacks as well as instructions on how to use various weapons such as Molotov cocktails.
The chat, called Basta Dittatura, or Enough of the Dictatorship, is said to be the main organising forum for the anti-Green Pass demonstrations and that among those threatened in the chats was Prime Minister Mario Draghi.
The raids come after the Italian Interior Ministry promised to crack down on anti-vaccine passport protesters as a whole, claiming the measures were to stop violence from occurring at future protests.
Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese ordered that anti-Green Pass activists be banned from historic city centres and be forced to only engage in sit-in style protests.
“The so-called No Pass demonstrations have been paralysing every Saturday, for weeks, the historic centre of many cities, creating inconvenience to citizens and traders, as well as generating gatherings among the unvaccinated,” Carlo Sibilia, undersecretary of the interior, said last week.
The announcement came after just days before the Mayor of Trieste Roberto Di Piazza banning anti-Green Pass demonstrators from the city’s Piazza Unità d’Italia.