Convicts on roof, fatalities as Italy jails protest virus
Milan: Prisoners took to the roof of a Milan jail Monday as part of a string of violent country-wide protests against coronavirus measures, in which six convicts have died.
In another incident, around 50 inmates broke out of jail in the southern city of Foggia, and about 20 were still on the run after their fellow convicts were caught, Italian media reported.
Jails have been ordered to stop all visits and limit day releases.
Some prisoners have been asking to be granted amnesty over the health crisis.
Rights campaigners warned of mass revolts over the new measures, and families gathered outside prisons to protest at the restrictions -- and to get news of their loved ones.
Around a dozen prisoners at the San Vittore prison in Milan managed to climb onto the roof of one of the wings and shouted slogans as police and prison guards below looked on.
It was the second day of unrest, with at least 23 jails -- from Venice and Milan in the north, to Rome, Naples and Bari in the south -- protesting over measures aimed at preventing the virus entering the prison system.
Six inmates died during or following clashes at Sant'Anna jail in the city of Modena in northern Italy, according to prisoner rights group Antigone.
Three died in Modena, while the other three died after being transferred from there to jails in Parma, Alessandria and Verona, Italian news agency ANSA said.
It said there were reports that the prisoners had broken into a medical centre in the Modena jail and had overdosed.
Authorities in Modena would not immediately confirm the reports.
Domenico Pianese, head of the police union Coisp, said the mass revolts looked planned and warned that the mafia could be behind such "an evident strategy to try to take advantage of the difficulties caused by the coronavirus". - AFP