After this morning’s shooting death of Gabriele Sandri, subsequent violent reactions throughout Italy wrecked havoc with the Serie A fixture list. Rome-based Spangly Princess has observed the events of the day, and is quick to remind “This has nothing to do with football. This is a political and a social problem first and foremost. Don’t pretend it has anything to do with sport.”
Trouble started around 18h in the residential quarter on the other side of the river at the local headquarters of the squadra mobile (rapid response investigative police, who often deal with football related criminal activity). The crowd, variously estimated at from 200 to 1000 people, moved off when their initial siege was held off, rampaging around the area and finally crossing over to the stadium where they attacked the headquarters of CONI, the governing body for all sports in Italy. An incendiary device was thrown into the building, windows were smashed, vehicles and wheelie bins were overturned and set on fire, and according to some reports several hundred people broke into the building. Dozens of policemen and carabinieri have been treated for injuries of varying gravity.
It was, in essence, the pre- and post-match violence of a super fraught fixture, only without the match.
Driving past half an hour ago, the streets are littered with rubble, wrenched up road signs and abandoned 2m metal poles used as weapons. Overturned bins lie in the road. Fully armed riot police are still conspicuous by their presence. The whole area is lit up like an even less salubrious Blackpool – the stadium floodlights are on full, and as we drove northwards from the centre we ould say the whole area glowing a fierce white. The place was eerily empty of non-police. But it looked like a war zone.