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Italys Anti-Austerity Protests Erupt Into Violence, Austerity Protests And Strikes Spread Across Europe

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Thousands of demonstrators marched in towns and cities all over Italy in support of the anti-austerity action.

The biggest union in the country called its members out on a four hour stoppage.

In Rome, riot police fired tear gas and charged at a breakaway group of students who threw stones near government buildings.

The scenes were repeated elsewhere in Italy too.

At Brescia in northern Italy there were violent clashes between protesters and riot police trying to prevent them from taking over the railway station.

The police failed.

Turin saw what was perhaps the most serious violence. A police officer was seriously injured in clashes outside the local government headquarters there. At least five more police were injured in Milan, though their injuries were less serious.

Heckles of disapproval from workers on the picket line as bus drivers defying a day of action leave Madrid’s main bus depot in the early hours of this morning. Police out in force and with watchful eyes. It’s one of the many protests we’ll see throughout Spain today, all part of a 24-hour general strike in the country called by its two biggest labour unions, CCOO and the UGT. Protestor Alvaro Alonso – and his colleagues – are unequivocal in his condemnation of the ruling People’s Party “The Spanish government is taking unfair austerity measures that are effecting those which are not guilty of the economic crisis. During the crisis the big companies, the banks have made a lot of money and they have a lot of benefits while the rest of the citizens have been working and living humbly.”

The mass disruption to public and private services won’t just be in Spain. Italy, Greece and Portugal are joining in too, in what will be the biggest public show of feeling of its kind across Europe. And as the cancellations are racked up at Lisbon airport, most UK airlines have already cancelled flights from Britain into these countries today. British Airways is asking customers to check flights before travelling but offering passengers the chance to change their flight date to within the next fortnight.

‘Troika Out Of Portugal, Down with the Coelho/Portas government. Long Live the General Strike’ is the banner outside main control centre for the Metro in Lisbon. Around a fifth of the 5.5 million strong workforce is in a union, and marches and rallies are planned across the country. The message is clear. ‘We’ve had enough. We can’t stand the pressures of these austerity measures any longer’. Inevitably, given other protests in the last few months a cross Europe, the police will have a job on their hands with the chance of some violence during protests later on. Written and presented by Marverine Cole

Workers across the European Union are set to stage a series of protests against rising unemployment and austerity measures.

The Day of Action and Solidarity calls on leaders to address growing social anxiety and abandon austerity measures.

Strikes are expected in Spain, Greece, Portugal and Italy, with other protests planned in Belgium, Germany, France the UK and some eastern EU states.

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