Anti-vax suspects allegedly planned to blow up TV news trucks at Rome rally in protest against Green Pass Covid certificates

Italian police took into custody eight people who allegedly advocated violence, particularly against journalists, in upcoming protests against the government’s Covid-19 vaccine requirements, the Associated Press reported.

The eight had formed a group called “the warriors” on the Telegram messaging app, police said. The raids were carried out in Rome and five northern cities, including Milan and Bergamo, which has been particularly hard hit by Covid.

The eight are under investigation but have not been arrested or formally charged.

Police said the suspects were planning to set off home-made bombs at a rally planned for Rome this weekend by opponents of the country’s “Green Pass” Covid certificates.

Across Italy, the Green Pass is required for indoor dining, to access gyms and to attend crowded venues like concerts as well as domestic travel on planes, trains, buses and ferries.

Passes are available to those who have had at least one vaccine dose, have recovered from COVID-19 in the past six months or have tested negative in the past 48 hours, AP said.

Milan anti-terrorism police chief Guido D’Onofrio said the suspects wanted to target journalists, including “blowing up trucks” operated by TV networks.

Nearly 73% of residents in Italy aged 12 or more — and thus eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine — are fully vaccinated. But virus experts are concerned that 20% of those older than 50 haven’t signed up for the vaccine.

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