Ipswich/Rome: Breakfast radio host caught in city of riots
SUFFOLK: BBC radio host Terry Baxter found himself near the centre of serious rioting in Europe after taking a short break holiday to Rome.
Mr Baxter, who presents Radio Suffolk’s breakfast show, arrived in Italy for a weekend break with his wife Tracy.
They were staying in a hotel near the city, and were forced to change their sight-seeing schedule as rioters took to the streets on Saturday.
Mr Baxter told The Evening Star: “It would be wrong to say we were caught in the thick of it – it was all happening a few blocks away but we could see the police and army helicopters in the skies.
“We spent the day looking around The Vatican and St Peters. There was no trouble there. We had planned to go to see the Colosseum on Saturday but we could not go there because there was rioting nearby.
“And the coach tours we had planned to take during the afternoon were not running – but there was plenty to see and do where things were quiet.”
Rome was one of many financial centres across the world where anti-capitalist demonstrators took to the streets to protest about austerity measures taken by governments.
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It was the only city where the demonstrations turned seriously violent – pictures of cars being set alight and banks having their windows smashed were flashed around the world.
But Mr Baxter said the trouble eased rapidly.
Speaking from Rome yesterday, he said: “It was all calm again today and we were able to go to the Colosseum.
“When we got out of the Metro we were right outside one of the banks whose picture was flashed everywhere, but already there were workmen boarding it up and starting repairs.”
There was an increased police presence on the streets and there were more armoured cars than was usual – but Mr Baxter said it had not spoiled the couple’s weekend.
He said: “I don’t want people to think we were at any risk at all – we were on a weekend away and had a really good time despite what was happening a short distance away.”
He is due back behind the microphone for his breakfast show this week.
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