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Hundreds of demonstrators planned a march opposing the presence of Israeli exhibitors at Vicenzaoro January. | Source: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP
Hundreds of demonstrators planned a march opposing the presence of Israeli exhibitors at Vicenzaoro January. | Source: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

Violent riots threaten to upend jewellery fair celebrations

The 70th-anniversary celebration of the Italian jewellery fair Vicenzaoro January has been overshadowed by violent clashes between protestors and police.

More than 1,300 exhibitors from more than 40 countries were expected to take part in the fair, which began on 19 January.

Hundreds of demonstrators planned a march opposing the presence of Israeli exhibitors at this year’s fair. The demonstration soon turned violent, with protestors clashing with local law enforcement.

Giacomo Possamai, Mayor of Vincenza
Giacomo Possamai, Mayor of Vincenza
"The right to demonstrate is sacred, but those who take to the streets with sticks and their faces covered to ask for peace represent an unacceptable contradiction."
Giacomo Possamai, Mayor of Vincenza

“Footage of the unrest shows protestors firing smoke bombs and flares as the two groups of police rammed against each other. Lines of officers wearing blue hard hats and carrying shields appeared to be trying to push the group back,” writes Susie Coen for The Telegraph.

"Some protestors could be seen holding up banners saying ‘Free Palestine’ and ‘Stop bombing Gaza.’ Sirens could also be heard as a water cannon was fired at the crowd, with demonstrators attempting to take cover from the blast behind their signs.”

A Vicenzaoro spokesperson told The Telegraph that the clashes had no impact on the fair. The Mayor of Vincenza, Giacomo Possamai, released a statement condemning the violence.

“The right to demonstrate is sacred, but those who take to the streets with sticks and their faces covered to ask for peace represent an unacceptable contradiction,” he said.

Vicenzaoro January takes place at the Vicenza Expo Centre, and the fair was established in 1954.

Flares are ignited as police and protestors collide in Vicenza, Italy. | Source: Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP

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