MILAN (AP) — Former Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte has been physically attacked during an official appearance in Tuscany by a man protesting against Italy’s lockdowns and other measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, Italian media reported Friday.
The man struck Conte in the face, and the assailant was immediately detained by law enforcement, the news agency LaPresse reported. Conte didn’t appear to have been seriously harmed.
“Dissent is legitimate, but this violent demonstration falls outside the democratic context,” Conte said in a statement.
Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni expressed solidarity with Conte, whose party is in the opposition, and condemned “every form of violence.”
Conte was premier when Italy became the first country in the West to confirm COVID-19 cases in February 2020, putting the country under a strict lockdown in early March, and he oversaw the start of Italy’s vaccination campaign.