Security is being stepped up in Rome ahead of a two-day summit of G20 leaders at the weekend, with several thousands of police and hundreds of soldiers to be brought in to guard dignitaries.
“This is a moment of great tension,’’ Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said on Wednesday.
Twenty years after violence marred a G8 summit in the northern city of Genoa and three weeks after COVID-19 protests got out of hand in the Italian capital, the G20 hosts had chosen a tough security approach.
The arrangements include a large police presence with additional reinforcements from the military and extensive exclusion zones in place over the weekend.
Large parts of the district surrounding the congress centre that will host the summit will be cordoned off from Friday, and no one will be allowed to enter without special permission.
No-fly zones will apply over parts of the city centre, police said in a statement.
The exact number of police officers being deployed has not yet been revealed.
According to reports, several thousand will be on the streets.
Some 500 soldiers from Operation ‘Strade Sicure’’ (Safe Streets) will guard important points in the city such as sights, government, and embassy buildings, and the hotels where the more than 20 international delegations will stay.
Security officials were especially concerned about potential unrest instigated by organised groups.
The police are expecting 10,000 participants in two rallies that have been registered so far, and they said that they did not expect many potential rioters to travel to Rome at the weekend.