Singing stops in Italy as fear and social unrest mount. #TheGuardian
Thursday, 02 April, 2020, 19:15
A few days into Italy’s lockdown, people across the country sang and played music from their balconies as they came together to say “Everything will be alright” (Andrà tutto bene). Three weeks on, the singing has stopped and social unrest is mounting as a significant part of the population, especially in the poorer south, realise that everything is not all right.
“They are no longer singing or dancing on the balconies,” said Salvatore Melluso, a priest at Caritas Diocesana di Napoli, a church-run charity in Naples. “Now people are more afraid – not so much of the virus, but of poverty. Many are out of work and hungry. There are now long queues at food banks.”
There have been far fewer coronavirus deaths in Italy’s south compared with the worst-affected northern regions, but the pandemic is having a serious impact on livelihoods.
Tensions are building across the poorest southern regions of Campania, Calabria, Sicily and Puglia as people run out of food and money. There have been reports of small shop owners being pressured to give food for free, while police are patrolling supermarkets in some areas to stop thefts. The self-employed or those working on contracts that do not guarantee social benefits have lost salaries, and many small businesses may never reopen.
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