European cities erupted in violent protests on Tuesday as anti-Muslim protests met with police, unions and other groups that oppose anti-terrorism measures taken by several European countries after Islamic State attacks.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Paris, Milan, London, Stockholm and elsewhere to protest anti-terror laws and security measures that have restricted travel and granted law enforcement broader powers of surveillance. Police carried water cannons and tear gas against demonstrators as some threw bottles, rocks and fireworks at them.
The causes of the protests are varied, but they are in reaction to measures taken in recent years by several European countries, including the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, Italy and Germany, that have tightened security in the wake of attacks by Islamic State, al-Qaeda, Boko Haram and al-Shabab. They include powers to detain, search and travel without warrants, and limits on the flow of information between officials.
Earlier Tuesday, police briefly used tear gas to disperse protesters in Stockholm, according to reports. The German newspaper Bild said there were demonstrations in more than 30 towns across the country.
In Milan, left-wing opposition groups and anti-fascist and labor unions gathered in the Italian city’s center amid scuffles with police. A YouTube video showed a building, including banks and a hospital, in flames.
Three people have been killed in protests in Italy this year. In November, Italian police used pepper spray and water cannons on crowds of demonstrators trying to reach Milan’s Stadio San Siro stadium where the country’s national soccer team was playing Albania in an important World Cup qualifier.
Video posted to YouTube showed police firing water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters in front of Milan’s central railway station, where about 8,000 people gathered. Police later detained a group of men and a woman suspected of shooting a drone at a helicopter.
In Rome, scuffles between riot police and masked men in black at least two other times broke out in areas where activists converged. Police said they clashed with masked men in black who tried to break through police lines.
Earlier, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said he was willing to “scrupulously” protect and respect the right to peaceful protest.
Police deployed tear gas in several countries. A band of masked men shouting “Islam is a religion of peace” stormed Milan’s La Scala opera house on Tuesday, torching the stage and entrances and at least one bathroom.
The group, whose members were clad in black balaclavas and balaclavas, then tried to break into a nearby studio where a singing session was taking place, hurling chairs and glass, the police said.
Other protests occurred in Brussels, Hamburg, Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Tbilisi, Kiev, Seville, Madrid, Bucharest, Prague, Amsterdam, Munich, Rome, Lisbon, Stockholm, Katowice, Budapest, Warsaw, Warsaw, Saint Petersburg, Liepzig, the Netherlands, Rome, Bucharest, Bucharest and Seville.