Thousands of protesters rallied in the centre of Rome Saturday over the Italian capital’s decrepit infrastructure, as the legal woes of its mayor whetted political appetites on the far right.
Holding strips of the orange plastic netting that city authorities place around potholes, fallen trees and dangerous pavements, the demonstrators said Virginia Raggi, the city’s first female mayor, was responsible for Rome’s pitiful transport service and woeful garbage collection.
The cry “Rome says enough!” has spread in recent weeks on social media, with residents sick of buses that burst into flames, parks left to run wild and abandoned buildings taken over by drug peddlers.
The demonstration was arranged before a horrific accident this week in which more than 20 people, mainly Russian football fans, were injured when an escalator in one of the city’s main metro stations collapsed.
Raggi won the seat in 2016 for the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) with 67 percent of the vote, after both the traditional left and right-wing parties were seen to have failed to get to grips with a city drowning in debt.
She has struggled to build a team or fix the problems she inherited and her popularity has plummeted.