Thousands of anti-globalisation and far-left activists have converged on Rome to protest against US president George W Bush on a visit to the Italian capital. Demonstrators reportedly boarded trains by the hundreds in cities across northern Italy including Milan, Venice and Bologna.
Thousands of extra police have been deployed throughout the city.
The US embassy warned its citizens on Friday to avoid the protest or “risk becoming targets of opportunity”.
By evening, the demonstations had remained peaceful but there was concern a small minority of trouble makers could be planning violence.