A group of violent protesters blocked a railway station and attempted an assault on Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini on Friday night in the northern Italian city of Trento.
The leftist protesters, described by local media as “anarchists”, many of whom were wearing hoods to hide their faces, laid heavy chains across train tracks at the Trento station to block trains, and threw paint across the windshield of a locomotive.
Carrying banners and shouting offensive slogans against Salvini and his League (Lega) party, demonstrators also threw smoke bombs around the station, causing delays in the train schedules as well as local traffic disturbances.
Deputy Prime Minister Salvini also serves as Minister of the Interior, and is known for his hardline stance against open borders and illegal immigration.
He had appointments around the city all day Friday concluding with a meeting at the Parco delle Albere at 8:30 p.m. There, some twenty protesters tried to storm Salvini’s car but were stopped by the police.
Mr. Salvini tweeted about the protest, assuring his followers that he had no intention of backing down in the face of threats.
“Yesterday evening in Trento these hooded, ‘democratic’ DELINQUENTS, even put a chain across the train tracks and attempted to ‘pay me a visit,’ but were rebuffed by the shields of law enforcement,” he said.
“YOU ARE PITIFUL!, I won’t back down!”
Ieri sera a Trento questi DELINQUENTI “democratici”, incappucciati, hanno messo addirittura una catena sui binari del treno e hanno tentato di “venirmi a trovare”, respinti con gli scudi dalle Forze dell’ordine.
FATE PENA, io non mollo!https://t.co/n8Su89o3em
— Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) October 20, 2018
The visit of the popular minister — as well as the protests — took place just two days before provincial elections are due to take place in the area, which will also have a direct effect on the regional government of Trentino-Alto Adige.
Follow Thomas D. Williams on Twitter Follow @tdwilliamsrome