Protests have erupted across Italy with thousands taking to the streets against the mandatory Green Pass which came into force today for all workers.
Police were out in force, schools closed early and embassies issued warnings of possible violence after ugly scenes at the protests in Rome over the weekend.
Workers blocked ports as they refused to follow the new rules which require them to show proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or of having recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months.
No Green Pass protesters blocked the entrance in front of Genoa Port today as new laws came into effect requiring all workers to show their Covid status
The pass shows proof of vaccination, a recent negative test or of having recovered from Covid-19 in the past six months
Workers block port operations at the Giuseppe-Canepa seafront opposite the Etiopia gate in the port of Genoa as protests ground ports to a halt
The 23 million civil servants and employees in Italy must now present proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test to work
Dockers demonstrate against the Green Pass in the port of Trieste as all private and public workers are required to use the Green Pass
Italy has required it to access all sorts of indoor activities for weeks, including dining, visiting museums and theatres, and on long-distance trains.
But the addition of the workplace requirement has sparked heated debate and opposition in the former epicentre of the outbreak, where vaccination rates are among the highest in Europe and where even the latest Delta variant-fuelled resurgence has been kept largely under control.
'Today they are stepping on our constitution,' said an anti-vaccine protester, Loris Mazzarato. 'I say NO to this discrimination.'
He was among the hundreds of demonstrators in Trieste, where protests by port workers refusing to show a Green Pass to get to work threatened to affect commercial activities, though early reports suggested the ports were operational.
Protesters shouted 'Liberta' (Freedom) in a largely peaceful demonstration in Florence.
Italy has required it to access all sorts of indoor activities for weeks, including dining, visiting museums and theatres, and on long-distance trains
People take part in the 'No Green Pass' demonstration at the Circo Massimo in Rome as protests broke out across Italy today
The addition of the workplace requirement has sparked heated debate and opposition in the former epicentre of the outbreak
Women hand flowers to police officers during a protest against the so-called Green Pass at Circo Massimo in Rome
Implementation of the new requirement varies.
Electronic scanners that can read mobile phone QR codes with the Green Pass were set up at bigger places of employment, such as the office of Italian Premier Mario Draghi and the headquarters of state railway company Trenitalia.
But at smaller places of work, from restaurants to tennis clubs, employers and managers had to download an app that can scan the codes.
While it was unclear how strictly Italy would enforce the requirement, the fear of spot checks drove employers to comply, at least initially.
Sanctions for employers who fail to check employees range from 400 to 1,000 euros.
A worker who fails to show a Green Pass at work is considered to be absent without justification. If the worker shows up anyway without a valid Green Pass, he or she could face fines from 600 euros to 1,500 euros.
Vaccination rates are among the highest in Europe and where even the latest Delta variant-fuelled resurgence has been kept largely under control
In Trieste (pictured) protests by port workers refusing to show a Green Pass to get to work threatened to affect commercial activities
People gather and stage a No Green Pass protest in Turin as the new laws came into force today but were met with backlash
But there were some anomalies. Supermarket cashiers and hairdressers have to have a Green Pass to work, but their clients do not and need only to wear a mask indoors.
The aim of the requirement is to encourage even higher vaccination rates in a country that has kept Covid-19 largely under control,