Signs of social unrest in major Western cities could be developing over the next few weeks, and as we previously warned last Friday, a global depression with high unemployment could unleash a "social bomb" in European countries and or North America.
At the moment, Italy is the most high-risk country in the West to experience a potential breakdown in society. The country is suffering from an explosion in COVID-19 cases and deaths, a collapsed hospital system, an economic depression, and high unemployment. Sounds a lot like Venezuela...
Italy has called up the military in recent weeks to enforce lockdowns across the country. There have also been reports of organized gangs operating in the Southern part of the country that are using social media to plot raids on businesses, reported Bloomberg.
It's a race against time for Italian officials to prevent social unrest:
"We need to act fast, more than fast," Mayor Leoluca Orlando of Palermo, a city of Southern Italy, told daily La Stampa. "Distress could turn into violence."
Lockdowns in the country have entered the fourth week, Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement on Monday recommending that the government must extend the countrywide lockdown through Easter. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has been injecting stimulus into the economy to prevent a complete economic crash, and the next round could hit as early as mid-April, worth $33 billion.
Italy is the epicenter of COVID-19 in Europe. As of Monday afternoon, 101,739 confirmed cases had been reported, with 11,591 deaths. The growth rates in deaths in Northern Italy is still on an exponential curve.
"Discomfort and malaise are growing, and we are recording worrying reports of protest and anger that is being exploited by criminals who want to destabilize the system," said Orlando.
"The more time passes, the more resources are exhausted. The few savings people are running out. This tells us socio-economic issues will erupt."
The most southern part of the country has the highest unemployment. Stories are already starting to surface of social unrest. People, with no money, are now starting to raid supermarkets.
#Bread and food riots in South Italy! In #Naples and #Palermo, where countless unemployed people live, supermarkets are being protected by police. The shelves are swept empty, customers carry home heavy shopping bags... that are snatched openly in the street.#coronavirus #Italy pic.twitter.com/MXA7dsPvwc— peter patti (@peterpatti) March 28, 2020
According to La Repubblica daily, locals in Palermo have been raiding stores - telling cashiers they have no money to eat.
🇮🇹 Ayer se produjo un incidente en Palermo que ha hecho saltar las alarmas en el país. Una veintena de personas trató de sacar varios carros llenos de productos de un supermercado Lidl negándose a pagar. "Basta de estar en casa, no tenemos dinero para pagar, tenemos que comer". pic.twitter.com/bS2f0I1Fv3— Descifrando la Guerra (@descifraguerra) March 28, 2020
In other Sicilian towns, locals have intimidated shop owners for free food. The region is home to millions of people that could be weeks away from major social unrest.
"I am afraid that concerns shared by much of the population -- about health, income, the future -- will turn into anger and hatred if this crisis continues," Giuseppe Provenzano, Italy's minister overseeing southern regions, told La Repubblica.
Italy is further down the line in the outbreak than most other countries and threatens to unleash the next chapter of the crisis, that is, social unrest.
What's happening in Italy could be coming to America.