Rome: Drivers of horse-drawn carriages clash with animal rights activists
President of a European animal rights group and two drivers of botticelle,
horse-drawn carriages were taken to a police station
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 5 August 2012
Horse-drawn carriages are a source of embarrassment to Rome -- in 2008 a
horse had to be put down near the Colosseum -- after it was spooked by a
Tourists and shoppers in central Rome looked on in
astonishment at the weekend as horse-drawn carriage drivers
traded blows with animal rights activists in the busy Piazza di Spagna.
Three people were arrested -- reportedly including the president of a
European animal rights group -- and five were taken to hospital. The other
two arrested were drivers of botticelle, the horse-drawn carriages that have
become an increasingly anachronistic sight on the streets of the Italian
Sticks and bottles were said to have been in used in the
fight, which began after
activists protested over a lack of thermometers in come carriages.
Under a recently approved by-law, botticelle are not allowed to take on
passengers if the temperature is above 40C (104F).
Two of the
carriage drivers were fined as a result. The fight was broken up by officers
of the semi-militarised Carabinieri police, as holidaymakers gazed at the
nearby Spanish Steps or looked for bargains in the square's fashionable
The number of licensed carriage drivers has fallen to just 42, but
the profession is a growing source of embarrassment to the city. Last month,
one of the horses collapsed in the Piazza di Spagna. In December 2008,
another had to be put down near the Colosseum after being panicked by a
passing lorry, falling and breaking a leg.