Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte made another late-night address to the nation on Saturday after reports of riots in Sicily. Police were also deployed to protect supermarkets as looters descended on shops, protesting they had no money left for food.
Conte vowed to release €400 million in the form of food vouchers to ensure that those who were most impacted by the coronavirus-related economic shutdown. The emergency food aid comes in addition to the €4.3 billion that the government has already promised to release to mayors for local populations.
Italian newspapers report that as many as 300,000 workers in Sicily had been employed without regular contracts, and thus have no form of income or official recourse now that the lockdown has closed businesses and limited travel.
Local officials worry that the Mafia may step in to exploit the situation further if the national aid does not arrive in time.