Venice residents protest against cruise ships after severe floods

Helen Coffey
Venice residents protest after severe floods: AFP via Getty Images

Following some of the worst flooding on record, thousands of Venetians were out in force to protest against large cruise ships entering the city.

Between 2,000-3,000 protesters were stirred into action by the No Grande Navi (No Big Ships) collective, which wants to have large cruise liners banned from docking in Venice.

Environmental groups and activists also took to the streets.

Protesters chanted “Venice resist” and called for the resignation of Venice mayor Luigi Brugnaro.

“Venetians have just endured a deep wound,” activist Enrico Palazzi told AFP. “The flooding brought this city to its knees and revealed its extreme fragility to the world.”

Cruise critics claim the huge ships create waves that erode Venice’s foundations.

Calls were also made to scrap Mose, a multi-billion euro flood barrier project to protect Venice against “acqua alta” (high water) events, that has been persistently delayed and dogged by overspending and corruption scandals since it began in 2003.

Although Venice is well-versed in high tides, this month has seen waters reach heights of 1.87m (6ft), the worst it’s been since 1966.

The city’s mayor has said the severe flooding this year is a result of climate change.

“Now the government must listen,” Mr Brugnaro tweeted. “These are the effects of climate change... the costs will be high.”

Progress was made of the issue of cruise ships earlier this year, when the Italian minister for transport, Danilo Toninelli, announced ships would be rerouted away from the centre of Venice to ports such as the outlying Fusina and Lombardia terminals. Both these terminals are still within the Venetian lagoon.

By 2020, a third of cruise ships are to be diverted away from central Venice.

Read more

What do the Venice floods mean for tourists?