Protesters have taken to the streets again in Spain and Italy to express their anger over new coronavirus restrictions as Europe faces a second full lockdown.
Fireworks and trash cans set on fire were thrown in the path of cars overnight in Seville before police were told to stop demonstrations.
Meanwhile, protesters clashed with police on the streets of Rome over lockdowns, marking a fifth straight night of unrest in Italy over the country's response to Covid.
With cases rising across the continent, German Angela Merkel and French Emmanuel Macron were ready to announce the circuit breaker lockdown this week, which is set to last through November.
If confirmed, the move will put pressure on other European leaders to act. In Spain, an expert admitted that a full lockdown "is the only thing that worked", despite more curfews being put in place.
Fear of further closings led to a sharp opening in European markets on Wednesday. The British FTSE 100, the German DAX, the French CAC and the Italian FTSE MIB all opened around 3 percent lower than at close of trading.
Protesters clashed with police overnight on the fifth night of the riot in Italy over new coronavirus curfews on the streets of Rome
Italy imposed a curfew in Rome to slow the spread of the coronavirus and feared stricter measures could follow
Protesters in Rome took over Piazza del Popolo on Tuesday evening until they were dissolved by police officers in protective uniforms
After similar demonstrations in Milan and Naples earlier this week, police moved in on Tuesday evening to evacuate protesters from the streets of Rome
Coroanvirus cases are increasing rapidly in most major European countries, prompting leaders to consider further lockdown measures. There are curfews currently in place in Spain, Italy and the UK, with France and Germany considering shutting down circuit breakers
In Spain and Italy, deaths have risen in recent weeks, despite being lower than the first wave – unlike in the Czech Republic and other Eastern European countries, where deaths have risen to record levels
Italy announced this week coronavirus curfews in major cities like Rome, Naples and Milan after coronavirus cases spiked and deaths began to rise too
Spain has also announced new curfews and raised the prospect of another nationwide lockdown after cases skyrocketed (left) and deaths continued to creep up (right).
Health experts in Spain have warned that another full lockdown could be in sight if the intensive care units fill – eight of them are at risk of "collapse".
According to La Vanguardia, the hospitals in Aragon, Catalonia and Madrid, Castile and León, Navarra, Rioja and Ceuta are around 40 percent full.
With cases still increasing in these regions, experts estimate that all beds could be full within the next 20 days.
In Melilla, a Spanish enclave in North Africa, the situation is dire – two thirds of the beds are currently occupied.
This prompted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez to demand the imposition of a new state of emergency on Monday to create the framework in which he can announce local or even national lockdowns at short notice.
He also announced nightly curfews to bring cases under control.
Tomás Cobo, vice president of the Collegiate Medical Organization, told El Pais that the complete shutdown "is the only action that has scientific evidence".
Protests in Spain continued until Wednesday when taxi drivers gathered in Barcelona angry over lockdowns causing a drop in demand.
Similar demonstrations took place in Italy after Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced overnight curfews in Rome, Naples and Milan to avoid a second full lockdown.
A wave of anti-lockdown protests has gripped Europe as governments impose tougher lockdowns to contain the coronavirus resurgence
Reports of new lockdowns resulted in a sharp opening in European markets on Wednesday, with the British FTSE 100 (left) and the French CAC 40 each declining around 3 percent
The German DAX index (left) and the Italian FTSE-MIB (right) both fell by around 3 percent compared to the previous day at the Open
The protesters burned trash cans overnight and set off fireworks in the Spanish city of Seville to protest the coronavirus curfew
A man watches fireworks go off in Seville to protest new coronavirus curfews
Macron was due to speak to the nation in a televised address on Wednesday evening, fearing another full lockdown.
French media reported that the measures considered would be "more flexible" than those imposed earlier this year, but did not provide any details.
New measures could come into effect on Thursday from midnight.
Meanwhile, Angela Merkel met with regional leaders in Germany on Wednesday to put another full lockdown up for discussion.
It is believed that she may announce further restrictions on November 4th, closing bars and restaurants and banning public gatherings.
In contrast to the first closure, the schools would remain open.
Almost every major European country has reported a record of coronavirus cases in one day, either in the last 24 hours or within the last seven days.
Italy posted a record 22,000 cases and Germany a record 15,000 on Tuesday.
Spain and Russia reported record highs earlier this week, while France and the UK hit new highs the week before.
Even lock-free Sweden, whose approach to avoiding a severe economic downturn had been praised, reported a record 5,000 cases on Tuesday.
While increased testing means the total number of second waves is not comparable to the first, the rate at which cases – along with hospital admissions – are increasing is causing panic among European leaders.
A dozen restaurant owners protested outside Milan City Hall on Tuesday, while the same number of stadium concession booth holders waved banners at Lombardy's regional headquarters.
"Nobody thought of us," said Giacomo Errico, Lombardy President of FIVA Commercio, which represents 6,000 concession stand holders in the northern region, out of 40,000 across the country who have been unemployed since February.
Emmanuel Macron is believed to be on the verge of announcing another nationwide lockdown in France to contain cases that have risen sharply for weeks (left), with deaths starting to rise too (right).
Angela Merkel is also discussing a new lockdown with the regional leaders today to prevent a sharp increase in cases (left) and with increasing deaths (right).
A man wears a protective face mask as taxi drivers in Barcelona protest falling demand due to coronavirus lockdowns
Such peaceful protests were held up and down the Italian peninsula, while more violent protests broke out at night, increasingly culminating in vandalism, looting and clashes with police.
Italian terrorism and organized crime prosecutor Federico Cafiero de Raho said Tuesday subversives had infiltrated peaceful protests in the country. He said they included advocates of the extreme right and anarchists of the extreme left.
Investigators have also investigated evidence that organized crime groups provoked violence during a peaceful protest in the Naples area.
France has warned of possible new lockdowns, including extending existing curfews, holding residents on weekends or all week, and closing non-essential businesses.
Since curfews were imposed a few weeks ago, the French police have imposed 14,000 fines, the interior minister said on Tuesday.
Doctors see growing pressure on French emergency services and intensive care units, where COVID patients now occupy more than half of the beds.
In Spain, the Canary Islands wanted to pass a law allowing visitors to the popular archipelago off northwest Africa with evidence of a negative COVID-19 test.
Traders, restaurateurs and workers are holding a sham funeral for their industry that they believe will be killed by the coronavirus shutdown
Businessmen organized a staged funeral to protest the ban imposed by the Italian government in Como, Italy
Russia, which has the fourth highest number in the world with 1.5 million confirmed cases, is resisting a second lockdown.
With more than 15,000 cases per day, the health department ordered all Russians to wear masks in crowded public spaces, including public transport, and in enclosed spaces such as taxis and elevators.
The Czech government has tightened its rules further, imposing a nationwide curfew between 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., which began on Wednesday.
In the past, freedom of movement was restricted, shops, schools and restaurants closed, face masks must be worn indoors and outdoors, and sports competitions were banned, but the number of infections has continued to rise.
Several demonstrations against the virus restrictions were planned for Wednesday in the Prague capital.
Even Sweden, which has avoided national lockdowns and has generally imposed far lighter measures than other European countries, is now urging people to avoid shopping malls and stores and to stay away from public transport.
The World Health Organization announced that more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases were reported last week – the shortest time ever for such an exponential increase.
For the second week in a row, the European region has the largest proportion of new cases with more than 1.3 million cases or around 46% of the global total.
The United States Health Department said deaths were also increasing in Europe, with an increase of about 35 percent since the previous week.
Overall, Europe has recorded more than 250,000 virus-related deaths, according to a record by Johns Hopkins University. The WHO found that hospital admissions and intensive care unit occupancy have increased in 21 European countries due to Covid.
(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) Nachrichten (t) Coronavirus (t) France (t) Angela Merkel (t) Emmanuel Macron