Men in pink shirts: the passion of Italian protest

Food, love, protest: all is done with passion in Italy.
Food, love, protest: all is done with passion in Italy. Jessie Gretener

SITTING on the crumbling steps of an old church while licking a tiramisu gelato, my attention turned to someone yelling in the distance.

Screaming out rude words in Italian and carrying their pitch forks (or balloons), marching as one they descended down the main shopping street of Torino, Italy.

The locals didn't take more than a second's glance at them. This is a regular occurrence.

The Italians could even have their own calendar dedicated to strikes and protests, they have so many. Today's is public transport for trains, next it will be public transport for buses, last week it was low wages.

In the last few years the Italians have not been happy as they were about many things, especially public transport and wages, therefore they get out their protesting balloons and banners and march their worries away.

The television stations show angry, abusive people at protests. So the last thing I expected in the midst of a protest were men in pink skirts, a group of around twenty, walking around with the rest.

Banging on metal drums that rang in your ears for days joined with some Italian chants, they hypnotised people into following them. 

In dreadlocks that went to their feet and headbands with a white and pink spiral circle they waved their heads around to the beat of the metal drums. The spirals made me dizzy just looking at them.

It didn't stop there. On their bodies you didn't see the hippy-style clothes which I thought would have suited them. Instead they were wearing bright pink flowing white skirts and a glittering silver sequined skintight top.

These men captivated the attention of many ladies, although probably not the way the guys would have hopped for.

As the crowd became more packed full of people screaming for their rights the excitement started to drift away as police started encircling the crowd. This was my sign to get out of it before it turned into the video you see on the television.

To me the protest showed how proud they were, even if they were wearing a bright pink skirt. They were standing up for what they believed in and that is something I admire.

Topics:  demonstration industrial action italy jessie gretener protest strike

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