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Violent protests overshadow Milan Expo opening

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Protests were held in Milan just hours after the 2015 Expo opened in the Italian city

Around 1,500 protesters gathered in Piazza XXIV Maggio, in central Milan, away from the Expo site on the north-west side of the city.

The No Expo protesters, including anti-globalisation and environmental activists alongside anti-austerity campaigners, threw stones, smashed shop windows and set cars alight before being disbanded by police who tackled them with tear gas.

Demonstrators claim the world trade fair was a symbol of waste and corruption and that the event would only benefit the corporations taking part - rather than Italy. The protest group also insists that the thousands of people were working for free as part of the six-month-long Expo.

Widespread trouble had been predicted and many Italians blamed the government for not doing enough to stop the damage.

The day after the protests Milan residents took to the streets in a huge clean up event condemning the violence of the Expo’s opening day.

Speaking on Italian television, Italy’s prime minister Matteo Renzi, said: ‘Four little hooligans with silver spoons in their mouths will not succeed in ruining the Expo’.

The Expo’s organisers have predicted the event will see more than 20 million visitors over six months and will provide a €10 billion boost to Italy’s economic activity.

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