Europe

Police clash with anti-austerity protesters in Italy

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Scuffles have broken out between Italian police and demonstrators in the northern city of Turin as hundreds took to the streets to protest against unemployment and austerity.

Activists in Turin lobbed smoke bombs at police on Thursday in a rally to mark International Workers’ Day, commonly known as the May Day.

The demonstrators voiced outrage at the government’s failure to bring the unemployment rate down and provide proper housing for the poor.

Several people were arrested during the protest in the industrial city, which has been hardly hit by Italy’s two-year economic recession.

Thousands of protesters and trade union representatives held peaceful rallies across Italy on May Day.

People took part in a peaceful demonstration in Pordenone, near Venice, where the closure of a nearby washing machine plant owned by Sweden’s Electrolux has put more than one thousand jobs at risk.

Massive protests were also held in Milan, Rome and the southern city of Taranto, where thousands of jobs at the local steel plant are at risk.

Auto workers at the closed Fiat plant in Termini Imerese in Sicily also staged a sit-in outside the factory gates.

“We always hear talk about cuts in Europe instead of investment in labour,” Susanna Camusso, the leader of Italy’s biggest union, the CGIL said.

According to reports, the number of Italians without work now stands at 3.254 million, an increase of 351,000 from November 2012.

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 in the country.

Italians have been staging protests against high unemployment, economic adversity and hardship over a series of government-imposed austerity packages in recent years.

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