In Photos: Milan's May Day 'No Expo' Riots


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In Photos: Milan's May Day 'No Expo' Riots

Milan was set alight on Labour Day as police clashed with black bloc protesters demonstrating against Expo 2015.

This article originally appeared on VICE Italy

Clashes broke out between police and anti-Expo 2015 demonstrators in the northern Italian city of Milan, on May 1st. Expo – a six-month food-themed world fair – has come under fire from protesters, who are angered by a corruption scandal involving senior government and Expo officials. When it secured the rights to host the Expo seven years ago, the Italian government set aside €1.3 billion for that purpose. Now many fear the investment will go directly into the pockets of the corporations involved in the fair, instead of benefiting their recession struck country.


Friday's 'No-Expo' march – was organised to coincide with the opening of the fair – was the culmination of a mobilisation that has been ongoing for several years. At around 3PM, No-Expo committees, leftists, trade unions, anarchists, students and animal-rights activists gathered in central Milan under a banner that read: "No Expo, Eat The Rich". As media reports had correctly predicted in the run up to the event, it didn't take long for tensions to reach boiling point.

Not long after 5PM, clashes erupted between several hundred protesters and the police. The hooded protesters split off from a largely peaceful protest and began smashing shop and bank windows, as well as torching cars. The police responded with heavy rounds of tear gas and deployed water canons in an attempt to disperse the crowd.

So far there have been five confirmed arrests, while authorities have said they will be taking necessary action to deal with those who took part in the riots.

Expo organisers are speculating that the fair will draw roughly 20 million visitors over the next six months, as well as a €10 billion jolt to Italy's economy.