Dozens of masked protesters engaged in running battles with the police in the southern Italian city of Naples, outside a rally by the anti-immigration Lega Nord politician Matteo Salvini.
Police unleashed water cannon and tear gas on protesters, who launched projectiles and flares.
The heart of Italy’s third-biggest city was covered in thick smoke, as police used batons to fend off the rioters, who themselves had improvised clubs, and threw bins and other street objects at the law enforcement officers in a series of anarchic clashes, as the protesters retreated and rushed the cordons again and again.
The protests, which local media suggested were planned by left-wingers, anarchists, and radical football fans called the Ultras, were announced ahead of Salvini’s visit and, on Friday, a group had already occupied the hall where he was scheduled to address supporters the next day.
“Naples doesn’t want you,” read slogans addressed to the politician, who had never organized a mass demonstration in the traditionally left-leaning city.
On Saturday, as many as 3,000 people started off an initially peaceful demonstration, shouting slogans that accused Salvini of being “racist and xenophobic,” while some hired a bulldozer that would symbolically clear away the Lega Nord leader from Naples.