Italy: European Economic Protests Turn Violent


By Sabina Castelfranco

Tens of thousands nicknamed “the indignant” marched in major cities across Europe, against government cost-cutting and failed financial policies. In Rome, dozens of people were injured when clashes broke out Saturday during a massive protest of the government’s handling of the economy.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out Saturday in central Rome to voice their discontent at the government’s failure to deal with the economic crisis. But soon what began as a peaceful demonstration turned violent.

Hundreds of radicals dressed in black and wearing helmets hurled rocks, paper bombs and bottles at the police. They smashed shop and bank windows with clubs and sticks. They set fire to trash cans and cars and black smoke could be seen billowing across central Rome.

One building, believed to be an annex of the Defense Ministry, caught fire after the flames spread from a car. The protesters had earlier forced their way into the annex and trashed the offices.

Peaceful demonstrators were seen running away and shouting at the violent ones. Police in anti-riot gear charged at the radicals firing tear gas and using water cannons to try to disperse them.

Dozens of demonstrators and police officials were injured.

The Rome protest was one of many staged around the world on Saturday to show solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement in the United States, venting anger over years of economic and financial crisis.

This Italian demonstrator said this is the revolution that is being fought in the country because it is no longer possible that politics has been taken over by the economy and by finance, which is something invisible that suffocates the life of people in a very visible way.

Mario Draghi, the outgoing Bank of Italy governor, who will become the president of the European Central Bank next month, had expressed support for a peaceful march.


The VOA is the Voice of America

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