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Venice Protests Dwindling Population Amid Tourist Congestion

Venice might be one of the world's most beautiful places, but you wouldn't want to live there, according to the Venetians who staged a demonstration in the Italian lagoon city on Saturday. 

Waving maroon and yellow flags and carrying empty suitcases, dozens of residents participated in a symbolic procession out of the city—otherwise known as "Venexodus"—meant to draw attention to Venice's falling population.

The trouble is the more than 20 million tourists who pour into the city each year, clogging narrow streets and making it difficult to complete daily tasks like food shopping. 


The protesters argue that city officials have done too much to accommodate visitors and not enough to help overburdened residents, who face not only congestion but also inflated housing costs brought on, they say, by short-term vacation rentals. 

As a consequence, the city's population of permanent residents has been steadily decreasing, some say by as much as 1,000 people per year.

Many would like to see tourism limited by a booking system.