Saturday, 26 June 2010

Million Italians take to streets

A MILLION people have taken to the streets of Italy to defy the current neo-liberal assault on the peoples of Europe.

Reports the Irish Times: "Italians marched through cities and towns yesterday in a general strike protesting an austerity budget they say bleeds workers but spares the rich.

"The left-leaning CGIL union called the strike in an effort to force prime minister Silvio Berlusconi’s government to redraft a €25 billion austerity package he says is an essential part of European efforts to save the currency.

"The website of the CGIL, Italy’s largest union, said more than one million people took part in various demonstrations in large and small cities around the country.

"About 100,000 people, according to union estimates, demonstrated in the central city of Bologna, capital of a traditionally leftist area with a strong labour movement.

"In Rome, a long line of protesters blowing whistles and waving red CGIL flags snaked past the Colosseum. Organisers put the turnout at 40,000 people. In Milan, the CGIL said 80,000 attended a rally.

"After months of telling Italians they were immune to a Greek-style debt crisis, Mr Berlusconi’s cabinet in May approved an austerity plan, including cuts to funding for municipalities and freezing of public sector salaries. "