Thousands of Venetians Gather to Protest Cruise Ships After Historic Flooding (Video)
On Sunday, two to three thousand Venetians protested cruise ships and corruption in the beloved city as intense flooding continues to cause millions of dollars worth of damage.
Protestors called for the resignation of Mayor Luigi Brugnaro and the cessation of a project known as Mose. The multibillion-euro infrastructure, designed to protect Venice from flooding, has been underway since 2003, but has been set back multiple times due to cost overruns, delays and corruption scandals.
While chanting, “Venice resist,” the crowd were met with more floods, reported Italian outlet The Local.
The demonstration was also in place to protest cruise ships docking in the Venice lagoons as critics say the waves from the ships are eroding the city’s foundation and contributing to the unprecedented flooding seen earlier this month.
Because Venice is a city dependent on tourism, it has been hit not just by the floods. The economic impact of tourists leaving the city was felt by restaurant owners and shopkeepers.
Venice draws an estimated 36 million tourists every year.
Venetians have been protesting overtourism, specifically in the form of large cruise ships, for years. But this year’s “acqua alta” is one of the worst on record, with two people dying in conjunction with the five-foot flood and Italy declaring a state of emergency.
While many locals have fled the city-center as tourism to Venice increases, it is still home to about 50,000 people.
In light of the major flooding in one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, a Travel + Leisure advisor recently wrote about why travelers shouldn't abandon their plans to visit the city.
While you may have to wade through water on some of the city streets, conditions don’t necessitate the canceling of responsible tourism.
"The Venetians responded [to the floods] by rolling up their sleeves, coming together as a community, and ensuring that the Venice we know and love is back on track and open for business," she wrote.