SHARE
COPY LINK

OPERA

Protesters clash with police outside La Scala

The glamourous season opener at Milan's Scala opera house was marred on Sunday by clashes between riot police and protesters which left two wounded.

Protesters clash with police outside La Scala
The protesters were demonstrating against austerity in the recession-hit country as well as demanding rights for social housing following a series of squat evictions. Photo: o2ma/Flickr

Around 300 demonstrators, using banners reading “fight the power” and “we resist!” as shields, threw flares and Molotov cocktails at baton-wielding police in front of La Scala, where musical director Daniel Barenboim was taking his last opening-night bow.

Two policemen were reported to have sustained injuries during the clashes with the protesters, who were demonstrating against austerity in the recession-hit country as well as demanding rights for social housing following a series of squat evictions.

The season premier “Fidelio” marks the end of Barenboim's nine years at the prestigious opera house and the glitzy evening at the 18th-century theatre was attended by fashionista, show girls and leading politicians.

Milan's prefect Francesco Paolo Tronca, among the guests, slammed the “unacceptable violent protests against police” and the “hijacking of cultural events which serve to give strength and value to our city.”

There was also little sympathy from president of the Lombardy region where Milan is situated, Roberto Maroni, who said “what a way to ruin a party.”

“We always present the worst image of ourselves to the world. La Scala's opening night is a unique spectacle and we manage to ruin even that,” he said.

But the demonstrators received some support from former minister of economic development Corrado Passera, who said there was “such a level of need among some parts of the population that it is wrong to get angry with those who protest.”

The riot darkened an already uneasy season following a summer which saw Rome's conductor Riccardo Muti quit the Teatro dell'Opera amid bureaucratic difficulties and threats of strikes.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

MILAN

Romanian billionaire and seven others die in Milan plane crash

A light aircraft piloted by Romanian billionaire Dan Petrescu crashed into an empty office building near Milan on Sunday, killing him, his wife and son, and all five others aboard.

Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato.
Police and rescue teams outside the office building where a small plane crashed in the Milan suburb of San Donato on October 3rd. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

The single-engine Pilatus PC-12 had taken off from Milan’s Linate airport shortly after 1pm headed for Olbia in the north of the Italian island of Sardinia.

It crashed just a few minutes later into a building in San Donato Milanese, a town southeast of Milan, according to aviation agency ANSV, which has opened an investigation.

Witnesses said the plane was already in flames before it crashed into an office building undergoing renovations.

Petrescu’s 65-year-old wife, who also had French nationality, and their son Dan Stefano, 30, were killed.

Italian media identified the other passengers as entrepreneur Filippo Nascimbene, a 33-year-old from Lombardy, with his wife, young son and mother-in-law, who have French nationality.

Petrescu, 68, was one of Romania’s richest men. He headed a major construction firm and owned a string of hypermarkets and malls. He also held Germany nationality, the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

Flames engulfed the two-storey building, next to the yellow line subway terminus.

“The impact was devastating,” Carlo Cardinali, of the Milan fire brigade, told news agency Ansa.

Deputy prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano was quoted by Corriere as saying that the plane’s black box had been recovered.

SHOW COMMENTS