Venice protests see hundreds take to water in objection to cruise ships and motorised boats

Critics say waves created by large boats are eroding city’s foundations

Samuel Lovett
Sunday 19 January 2020 17:52
Comments
Highest tide for 50 years leaves Venice flooded

Hundreds of demonstrators took to the waters in front of St Mark’s Square in Venice on Sunday to protest the use of motor boats in and around the lagoon city.

Forming a flotilla of small, traditional rowing boats, protestors urged authorities to take action against Venice’s crowded waterways while taking aim at the giant cruise ships that regularly sail close to the city.

Critics say waves created by cruise ships and other large, motorised boats on the canal are eroding the foundations of the city, which regularly suffers from flooding.

“Stop the waves, stop the smog,” said one banner. “Shame on those making waves,” read another in Venetian dialect. “Look out for the waves, they are drowning us,” said a third.

Beloved around the world for its canals, historic architecture and art, Venice suffered a record string of floods in November, which left much of the city underwater and threatened the famed St Mark’s Basilica.

The high tides were blamed on climate change, but protesters say local authorities could be doing much more to protect the fragile city by banning big boats.

Last year, the Italian minister for transport, Danilo Toninelli, announced ships would be rerouted away from the centre of Venice to ports such as the outlying Fusina and Lombardia terminals. Both these terminals are still within the Venetian lagoon.

In the wake of the November floods, thousands came out in force to vent their anger at the city’s officials and demand the resignation of Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro.

Rowing and sailing boats sail along the St Mark’s basin as Venetians protest against the damage caused by waves created by large motorboats

Calls were also made to scrap Mose, a multi-billion euro flood barrier project designed to protect Venice against “acqua alta” (high water) events, that has been persistently delayed and dogged by overspending and corruption scandals since it began in 2003.

Additional reporting by agencies

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in