Italy marks anniversary of Genoa bridge disaster

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Italy on Wednesday marked a year since the Genoa motorway bridge collapse that killed 43 people.

The ceremony is taking place close to the spot where a section of the Morandi highway fell during heavy rain on August 14, 2018, hurling dozens of cars and several trucks onto railway tracks below.

Rubble and mangled steel still lie strewn across the site. The bridge’s two remaining towers were demolished in a giant blast in June to make way for a new structure.

Italy commemorates first anniversary of the Morandi Bridge collapse
A view of a St. George’s Cross (croce di San Giorgio) flag, symbol of the city of Genoa, as people gather to attend the memorial ceremony on the first anniversary of the Morandi highway bridge collapse, in Genoa, northern Italy, 14 August 2019. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

“I invite all Genoa citizens to take part in the ceremony to remember the victims of the Morandi bridge. I ask those who cannot come to observe a minute’s silence, wherever they are, at 11:36 am”, the moment the bridge collapsed, Genoa mayor Marco Bucci said ahead of the event.

Italy commemorates first anniversary of the Morandi Bridge collapse
Relatives of the victims react prior to an official ceremony on the first anniversary of the Morandi highway bridge collapse, in Genoa, Italy, 14 August 2019. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

Genoa archbishop Angelo Bagnasco will celebrate a mass while Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Bucci and representatives from victims’ families are to give speeches.

Italy commemorates first anniversary of the Morandi Bridge collapse
Italian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Matteo Salvini prior to a memorial ceremony for the victims on the first anniversary of the Morandi highway bridge collapse, in Genoa, northern Italy. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

The city’s church bells will ring, and port sirens wail after the minute’s silence.

Italy commemorates first anniversary of the Morandi Bridge collapse
A road sign (R, in black) reading ‘Former Morandi Bridge’ stands next to an area where an official ceremony will be held on the first anniversary of the Morandi highway bridge collapse, in Genoa. EPA-EFE/SIMONE ARVEDA

The anniversary comes as Italy faces the potential downfall of its government after Interior Minister Salvini of the League party pulled the plug on his populist alliance with the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) last week.

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Italian President Sergio Mattarella attends the memorial ceremony for the victims on the first anniversary of the Morandi highway bridge collapse, in Genoa, northern Italy, 14 August 2019. EPA-EFE/LUCA ZENNARO

All key players involved in Rome’s drama are due to attend Wednesday’s commemoration, including Salvini, his former coalition partner and M5S head Luigi di Maio, as well as President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

The new steel and concrete motorway bridge, designed by Italian architect and Genoa native Renzo Piano, is scheduled to be open for traffic in April 2020.

 

Via Rai News / ANSA

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