Cries of “Berlusconi, now you know what people think of you!” rang through the streets of Rome last Friday as half a million people demonstrated against the right wing government. Milan and Turin each saw marches of 50,000 too.
Half of the country’s schools closed down, with students and teachers walking out over government plans to sack 87,000 teachers.
Transport ground to a halt as bus and train workers joined a strike called by the three small independent unions for improved wages and conditions, security and pensions. The major union confederations did not back the strike call.
Tens of thousands of school and university students joined protests demonstrating against attacks on migrants and the growth of precarious employment.
The left has seized the initiative in a country where the racist right had seemed to have taken control.