First it was Scotland and Catalonia protesting for independence, now the people of Venice and the Veneto area of Italy also want to be separate, free and on their own.
Instead of being saddled with austerity by Rome, Venice wants to be free. Over 70% of residents in the area support the push for independence, according to the latest poll conducted by local newspaper Il Gazzettino, although a previous poll conducted by Corriere della Sera in September found that 80% were in favor.
Protesters gathered in front of the central government building in Veneto, Italy on Saturday, demanding an immediate referendum on the region's independence from Rome.
The rally was organized by the separatist Indipendenza Veneta party and drew a large number of people.
The new territory would be known as the "Repubblica Veneta," and would include Venice, the surrounding Veneto region, and also parts of Trentino, Lombardy and Friuli-Venezia Giulia and would consist of around five million people.
Lodovico Pizzati, Chairman of the separatist Indipendenza Veneta Party, told RT, “The situation here is almost explosive, so today we have thousands of people who have gathered in front of the regional government and we’re going to present to them a resolution signed by thousands of participants to have a referendum for independence.”
“The main reason is economic. We are in a situation worse than a colony because the tax rate in Italy is the highest the world and our services are extremely poor. We have 20 billion euros missing from our regional resources each year and that’s unbearable,” Pizzati added.
Historically speaking the push by Venice for independence should not be a total surprise, as Venice has only been a part of Italy for 146 years. Venetians have always felt culturally and geographically distant from Rome and their dialect is distinctly different from the rest of the country.
When asked by the interviewer about the region's ability to stand alone, Pizzati says the goal is completely attainable.
“It can more than survive on its own. It will be the second richest country in Europe,” he said.
“Sicily and Sardinia have strong movements for independence too…soon after us, it’s going to happen to other regions of Italy…and probably in other places in Europe like Belgium or Spain,” he added.