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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Europeans are Becoming Restless With Lockdowns, Resorting to Protests

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Zareen Afridi
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Police in Italy’s capital city Milan is facing a new challenge. The people are coming out on streets to protest regarding the lockdown steps taken up by the government like regional curfews evening shutdowns and dispersing large gatherings. Bars, theatres, gyps and pools are closing up by 6 p.m and this is not taken positively by the general public who are tired of these restraining measures. 

Police arrested as close to 28 people after the protests on Monday turned violent. The procession was being taken to the government HQ where the police blocked them and put them behind bars. In another of Italy’s city Turin, 11 people were arrested for breaking a Gucci showroom, stripping the mannequin of a lemon yellow trousers and looted away. 

The case is not only prevalent in Italy but other high-end countries like Spain and France are also facing similar issues. In Northern Ireland and the Czech Republic, schools are closed indefinitely. In Germany, borders are tightly locked in Austria and a new mask-donning regime is slowly taking hold, becoming mandatory in Russia.

When the government is so serious about the case and is holding emergency meetings, as in the case of France, the public is showing greater dissent in complying to these norms. The whole of the European continent has seen 250,000 confirmed deaths and has recorded a high 46% new cases in the last week itself, as reported by WHO. Metropolitan Italy is seeing as close to 20,000 cases a day.

Protesters in Poland are being controlled by pepper sprays. Spanish doctors held a national walkout first time in 25 years citing poor conditions for the healthcare workers. Similar protests were also held in the Netherlands where the doctors are seeing a rapid surge in cases and no support to the doctors fighting at the forefront. 

Britain is handling the pandemic unevenly, releasing and implying lockdown intermittently. This is causing frustrations and uncertainty among the masses. This is also leading to political turmoil where the British government faces the challenge of feeding hungry students. The Conservative government provides free lunches to children from lower-income families, a step becoming difficult to comply with amidst the pandemic. 

Italy is preparing another 5 billion Euros as a fund needed to help those hurt by new restriction policies. Professional soccer is a complete halt where matches are being played in empty stadiums in Milan’s La Scala opera house which is already going through a non-revenue generation phase. 

Protesters in Italy’s Turin mainly comprised of taxi drivers occupying centre stage and surrounded by hotel owners holding placards. Many banged pots and pans in Cremona and Treviso where many youngsters blocked traffic and threw firecrackers in Viareggio, at the Tuscan coast.

Hospitals and care units are already struggling in Italy. Until now, 13,000 covid patients are hospitalized and 1300 ICU beds are occupied. Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza says that these are difficult times and steps must be taken immediately before reaching numbers that cannot is sustained.

 France also plans to follow similar restrictive measures like extending lockdowns, trying to retain residents at home on weekends and offs. France has imposed more than 14,000 fines since lockdowns were imposed a couple of weeks ago. The pressure on France’s emergency services is growing immensely where covid patients take up half of the hospital beds. 

Russia which has 1.5bmillion cases, fourth highest in the world is intending to go for a second lockdown after restrictions were lifted temporarily in summer, and people are not ready for it. Cases rising at 15,000 a day, wearing a mask has become mandatory in all public places. 

“There is no doubt that Europe is quickly becoming the epicentre of the disease right now”, says WHO Chief Dr, Micheal Ryan. 

It can be concluded that Europe is having a tough time complying to lockdown measures, considering it is a metropolitan continent, heavily relying on tourism for its revenue as well. Following restrictive measures come as a difficulty for people who have seen the chic life and enjoyed streets, markets, fests and appealing nightlife. It will be extremely difficult for Europe to pass this year with so much of their freedom curbed down. 

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