Former Italian leader Conte attacked by a man protesting the lockdowns

MILAN (AP) — Former Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte was physically attacked during an official appearance in Tuscany by a man protesting Italy’s lockdowns and other measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Italian media reported Friday.

The man punched Conte in the face and the assailant was immediately detained by police, the LaPresse news agency reported. Conte did not appear to have suffered serious damage.

“Dissent is legitimate, but this violent demonstration falls outside the democratic context,” Conte said in a statement.

Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed solidarity with Conte, whose party is in opposition, and condemned “all forms of violence.”

Conte was prime minister when Italy became the first country in the West to confirm COVID-19 cases in February 2020, putting the country under strict lockdown in early March, and oversaw the start of Italy’s vaccination campaign.


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