Police in riot gear in the Italian city of Catania have clashed with protesters angered by the government’s austerity measures.
The demonstrators set off smoke bombs and chanted slogans against the police in the Sicilian city on Friday.
Clashes reportedly broke out when the protesters tried to force through a police blockade to get to the town hall where Prime Minister Matteo Renzi was scheduled to visit.
Over the past decade, Italy has been the slowest growing economy in the eurozone as tough austerity measures, spending cuts, and pension changes have stirred serious concerns for many people already grappling with the European country’s ailing economy.
According to reports, Italy’s gross domestic product (GDP) dropped by 0.1 percent during the July-September period. The country’s GDP shrank by 0.2 percent in the second quarter of 2014 while it was flat in the first quarter of the year.
Italy started to experience recession after its economy contracted by 0.2 percent in the third quarter of 2011 and by 0.7 percent in the fourth quarter of the same year.
Italians have been staging protests against high unemployment, economic adversity, and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in the recent past.