Press TV, Rome
Rome, Milan and Naples, Italy's largest cities, have hosted protests against the compulsoriness of the vaccine passport to access much of public life.
The biggest demonstration was held in the Italian capital where over 5,000 people gathered Saturday in iconic St. John's Square to express their anger at the Mario Draghi government's latest anti-COVID restrictions.
The executive has expanded the scope of the national health pass - which now can only be obtained by vaccination or recovery from the infection - making it a requirement for public transport, restaurants, hotels, museums, gyms and leisure places.
Organizers of the protests said they are not part of the "No Vax" movement and are very concerned over the socio-economic consequences of the restrictions. Thousands of small - and medium-sized companies that make up the bulk of the Italian economy have been forced to shut down due the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite Italy recording over 180,000 COVID-related cases on Saturday, the daily number of reported coronavirus infections in Italy has begun to fall in recent days. However scientific experts say the Omicron wave has not peaked just yet.
On top of the pandemic's socio-economic effects Italy is bracing for the upcoming presidential election. Lawmakers will elect the country's next president on January 24 with current prime minister Mario Draghi among the contenders. The possibility of a government crisis cannot be ruled out.