The 2015 Milan Expo opened today (May 1), an event intended to expose its visitors to food, culture, and technology from 54 countries.
It hasn’t entirely been met with excitement.
About 30,000 protesters arranged a “No Expo” march yesterday, resulting in a serious clash with police. Some of the participants threw stones, broke windows, and set cars and garbage cans on fire, according to the AFP News Agency. Police responded with tear gas.
Supporters of the Expo hope it will be an “economic catalyst” for Italy, while those in opposition believe it will only emphasize the country’s issues.
Pope Francis spoke in a video address today during the launch, warning against the “culture of waste” the Expo may be perpetrating.
“In certain ways, the Expo itself is part of this paradox of abundance, it obeys the culture of waste and does not contribute to a model of equitable and sustainable development,” he said, referring to the Expo’s somewhat ironic themes of “sustainable development and feeding the poor.”
The Pope believes that “the faces of the men and women who are hungry, who fall ill and even die because of an insufficient or harmful diet” deserve to be acknowledged above everything else.
An estimated 20 million people will be attending the Expo, with more than 10 million tickets already sold. Revenue for Milan is expected to exceed $10 billion, according to NBC News.
More NoExpo protests are expected as the six-month long event continues.