Stepping up measures against hate attacks on the web – Lamorgese – English

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(ANSA) – ROME, 1 SEP – Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said on Wednesday the government would step up measures to protect people from hate on the web after a series of anti-vaccine attacks against doctors , journalists and politicians, including Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio.

She said special attention would be paid to threats of intimidation against journalists and others.

Meanwhile, the Postal Police began to investigate illegal anti-vaccine activities on the Telegram portal.

Italian anti-vaccines on Tuesday posted death threats against 5 Star Movement (M5S) big-headed Di Maio in Telegram discussion forums.

“Another rat to run,” “we need lead” and “you must die,” were some of the messages.

Di Maio is among those who have become the target of anti-vax hatred after statements in favor of the vaccine’s deployment in Italy.

He said this week “the entire political spectrum, and more, must condemn the violence we see from the so-called No Vax, who are protesting in unacceptable forms.” I also appeal to all political forces: you must not fan the flames “.

Right-wing leaders like the League’s Matteo Salvini have said that if they condemn the violence, they understand the anger of anti-vaxxers and that no one should be forced to receive the COVID vaccine.

There have recently been a number of violent protests and other incidents involving anti-vaccine drugs in Italy.

On Sunday evening, a leading virologist, Matteo Bassetti, was accosted by a 46-year-old man who has been cited for making serious threats. The man is said to have passed Bassetti in the street and started to follow him, filming him on his phone and shouting: “You are going to kill us all with these vaccines and we are going to make you pay”.

Bassetti, an infectious disease expert at San Martino Hospital in Genoa, appears regularly on Italian television and urges people to get vaccinated against COVID. Police said on Tuesday eight people had been cited for social media threats against Bassetti in recent months. Prosecutors have said they could pursue the anti-vaccine stalking charge, a charge that could allow them to serve restraining orders on offenders or even place them under house arrest.

Meanwhile, in Rome on Monday, a video journalist for the daily La Repubblica was assaulted by a protester during an anti-Green Pass sit-in outside the Education Ministry.

And a pro-Green Pass teacher was shot in the mail.

There were several protests against the vaccine passport, which became mandatory on Wednesday for domestic air and long-distance rail travel, as well as for schools.

Bassetti told ANSA: “I ask for state protection from those who threaten, I would like the state to punish these people. “I don’t want escorts, I want the state to punish people who threaten. “I have been threatened since December, since the release of the vaccine: first anonymous letters, then threats by telephone to the clinic and to my wife’s hotel, it is continuous”.

The Interior Ministry said the right to protest was guaranteed in Italy, but not the right to make threats.

The Italian privacy watchdog said anti-vaccines published private information such as addresses and phone numbers of doctors, journalists, politicians and representatives of institutions in chat rooms. and that this activity was illegal.

Health Minister Roberto Speranza declared “solidarity with the many people affected by threats or violent attacks. From Minister Di Maio to Professor Bassetti, including journalists, there are now too many people who suffer from abuse and attacks by fringes of violent demonstrators. They cross the line. . Violence can never be tolerated “.

Home Secretary Carlo Sibilia said anyone blocking rail traffic on Wednesday would be committing a crime and “we will have to be tough on this.” (ANSA).

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