World Protests as Italy's Covid pass becomes mandatory for workers
NY man charged with felony, could face 7 years in prison after being accused of faking COVID-19 vaccine card
A New York man was charged with showing his employer a plagiarized COVID-19 vaccine card. If convicted, he could face up to seven years in prison.David R. Kemp, 24, of Eaton, N.Y., was charged with a second-degree possession of a forged instrument, which qualifies for a Class D felony in the state. The unauthorized use of a government agency’s seal is a federal crime.
Covid-19 health passes became mandatory for all workers in Italy from Friday, with the measure being applied mostly peacefully across the country despite some scattered protests.
At the major port of Trieste, where some labor groups had threatened to block operations in protest against the rule, the situation appeared largely calm, with some workers demonstrating but others being allowed to carry on as usual.
"The Green Pass is a bad thing, it is discrimination under the law. Nothing more. It's not a health regulation, it's just a political move to create division among people...," said Fabio Bocin, a 59-year old port worker in Trieste.
The Latest: Marchers in Rome protest work vaccine rule
ROME — Thousands of demonstrators marched down Rome’s Via Veneto and other main streets on Saturday, some clashing with police, to protest a government rule requiring COVID-19 vaccines or negative tests to access workplaces next week. The certification in Italy, known as a “Green Pass,” takes effect on Friday and applies to public and private workplaces. To obtain one, people must either have had at least one COVID-19 vaccine dose, document recovery from the illness in the last six months or test negative in the previous 48 hours.
In Rome, police in riot gear stood by in front of a small rally with people shouting "No Green Pass."
Video: Texas governor bans Covid-19 vaccine mandates by state employers (CNN)
Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet approved the rule -- one of the world's strictest anti-Covid measures -- in mid-September, making it obligatory from October 15 for all workers either to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery from infection.
Some 15% of private and 8% of public sector workers have no Green Pass, an internal government document seen by Reuters estimates.
Under the new rules, effective until year-end, those without the certificate will be suspended without pay and face a fine of up to 1,500 euros ($1,730) if they try to work on regardless.
Calls rise in Italy to ban pro-fascism groups after rampage
ROME (AP) — Left-leaning Italian lawmakers and politicians on Sunday called for measures to outlaw pro-fascism groups a day after anti-vaccine protesters, incited by extreme-right leaders, stormed a union office in Rome. Twelve protesters were either detained or arrested, authorities said Sunday, including Giuliano Castellino, leader of the extreme-right Forza Nuova party. Some 10,000 demonstrators turned out Saturday to express their outrage at a government-imposed requirement that employees have a “Green Pass” to enter their workplaces starting next Friday.
The government hoped the move making the health pass mandatory would convince unvaccinated Italians to change their minds, but with over 80% of residents over the age of 12 already fully inoculated and infection rates low, that surge has not materialized.
The right-wing League and Brothers of Italy parties and some unions say that, to address the risk of staff shortages, the validity of Covid tests should be extended from 48 to 72 hours, and they should be free for unvaccinated workers.
But the government has so far resisted those calls. The center-left Democratic Party, which is part of Draghi's ruling coalition, says that making swabs free would be the equivalent of an amnesty for tax dodgers.
Neo-fascists exploit 'no-vax' rage, posing dilemma for Italy .
ROME (AP) — An extreme-right party's violent exploitation of anger over Italy's coronavirus restrictions is forcing authorities to wrestle with the country's fascist legacy and fueling fears there could be a replay of last week's mobs trying to force their way to Parliament. Starting Friday, anyone entering workplaces in Italy must have received at least one vaccine dose, or recovered from COVID-19 recently or tested negative within two days, using the country's Green Pass to prove their status. Italians already use the pass to enter restaurants, theaters, gyms and other indoor entertainment, or to take long-distance buses, trains or domestic flights.