Venetians were left waiting for a large cruise ship to pass meaning the beginning of the 45th Vogalonga rowing race was postponed. Tensions have been rising consistently over the last few weeks as protesters take offence to tourists ruining the atmosphere, infrastructure and environment of the water city. This latest cruise ship incident comes the day after the demonstration against the large ships, in the city square.
This has been considered a mockery by some considering that the Vogalonga event this year wanted to raise awareness about the damage of motor boats and the consequent wave motions in the lagoon.
The giant cruise ship passed through the San Marco Basin preventing the start of the Vogalonga.
The boats were able to left on time but the presence of the cruise ship was experienced by the city as an offence.
The non-competitive event sees was celebrating its 45th edition of hundreds of rowers departing from San Marco basin and arriving at Punta della Dogna for a total journey of 30 kilometres.
Thousands of Venetians flooded the city centre earlier this week to protest against the transit of big cruise ships in the narrow strait dividing mainland Venice from the Giudecca, an island in the Venetian Lagoon famous for the Church of the Santissimo Redentore.
Demonstrators were given the go-ahead by the city’s Prefect to march across Venice and enter Piazza San Marco, an area officially closed to demonstrations since 1997.
The protest was peaceful, with people holding flags of the historic Venetian Republic and banners reading “Never again! Ships out of the lagoon!” and “Venezia is not Disneyland”.
The protest, launched by a group called No Big Ships (No Grandi Navi), comes after a big cruise ship clashed against a dinghy carrying tourists in the lagoon, injuring four people and throwing others in the surrounding waters.
The transit of these cruise chips so close to the mainland allows tourists to see iconic Piazza San Marco from an advantage point of view – at the expenses of the environment, the naval traffic and Venetians’ quality of life, according to protesters.
Tommasi Cacciari, the leader of the protest, said: “These ships must be stopped now and we want to show our concern in the heart of our city.”
Another leader of the protesters, Gianfranco Bettin, said: “These giants must leave the lagoon.
“They are incompatible with the balance of our ecosystem, and they are dangerous for our city.”