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Italian students stage massive protest

More than a hundred marches and rallies have been staged in major Italian cities by students who are protesting the government’s planned cuts in the education sector.

Italian students expressed outrage at a decision by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s center-right government for budget cuts of around USD 12 billion and slashing 130,000 jobs in the education system.

The protesting students demonstrated on Wednesday in front of the parliament building in central Rome against the planned reforms.

The demonstrators marched through the streets of Florence and Rome, setting off flares and calling for the prime minister’s resignation, the Associated Press reported.

Over the past two years, the government has adopted several unpopular bills for the period between 2009-2013 that will cut education spending and jobs.

The latest reforms will merge several smaller higher education establishments and bring managers from outside the institutions into university boards.

On Tuesday, Italian lawmakers began debating new austerity measures amidst the widespread financial crisis facing many European countries.

Berlusconi has come under fierce criticism over controversies surrounding his political and personal life.

Four ministers have resigned from the Italian government, joining speaker of parliament Gianfranco Fini, in protest at the prime minister’s policies.

Europe Minister Andrea Ronchi, Deputy of Economic Development Adolfo Urso and two junior ministers have decided to join the new Future and Liberty for Italy Party, formed by Fini.

Berlusconi, who has also recently been caught up in a sex-scandal involving a 17-year old girl, is expected to face a vote of no-confidence in Italy’s parliament on December 14.

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