The May 1 opening of the Milan Expo 2015 architectural show has been marred by violent clashes between a group of protesters and Italian riot police. Thick clouds of smoke from burning cars and smoke canisters filled parts of central Milan as masked protesters threw rocks, bottles and molotov cocktails, and law enforcement retaliated with teargas. The wider, student-organized No Expo protests are speaking out against the immense cost of the temporary Expo at a time when Italy is facing economic hardship.
The Milan Expo, which features 140 pavilions commissioned from a range of countries and companies, has faced significant criticism in the months leading up to its opening. According to Dezeen, the Italian Government has spent €1.3 billion ($1.5 billion) on the Expo, much to the anger of anti-austerity campaigners. The organization of the Expo has been marked by a series of embarrassments, including the arrest of the commissioner of the Italian pavilion amid allegations of corruption and bid-rigging.