Mark Byrnes is a former senior associate editor at CityLab who writes about design and architecture.
"Four little hooligans with silver spoons in their mouths will not succeed in ruining the Expo," says Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
After a May Day protest in Milan that saw vandals smashing windows and setting cars on fire, the city's streets are again clean and its mega event, Expo 2015, is underway.
On Sunday, mayor Giuliano Pisapia led a march down the same streets where protestors clashed with police two days prior. Thousands of Milanese took to the streets this time to condemn Friday's violence—and hundreds of them, according to the AP, helped clean up the damage.
Friday's mostly peaceful protests brought out demonstrators in opposition to Expo 2015, which officially opened that day. The "No Expo" group, which held a smaller protest the day before, says the event's use of unpaid volunteer workers, accusations of corruption, and partnerships with large corporations tarnish any international goodwill and economic stimulus the event hopes to provide.
Even Pope Francis questions Expo 2015's theme, "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life."
"In certain ways, the Expo itself is part of this paradox of abundance, it obeys the culture of waste and does not contribute to a model of equitable and sustainable development," said the pontiff during his address for Expo's opening ceremonies. Such an event, he added, should be focused on "the faces of the men and women who are hungry, who fall ill and even die because of an insufficient or harmful diet."
In response to Friday's riots, opposition party officials are now demanding the resignation of Italy's interior minister, Angelino Alfano. According to Reuters, they claim his office "failed to prevent the violence and damage, despite widespread expectations of trouble."
On national television over the weekend, Italy's Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said of the rioters, "four little hooligans with silver spoons in their mouths will not succeed in ruining the Expo."