Millions of workers in Italy took part in a general strike today (Tuesday) against the government’s austerity plans.
Airport workers, bus drivers, public service workers and others walked out across the country. Most flights were cancelled in and out of the country and mass rallies were held.
Prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is sinking ever deeper. He plans to cut an astonishing 45.5 billion euros from Italy’s budget. This will damage the lives of the most vulnerable in society and lead to huge job losses.
But he cannot avert a crisis. Italy’s debt is spiralling out of control and resistance is growing. Business and industry heads are uniting with the trade unions against his plans.
In Rome some 20,000 workers rallied—coming together from two different feeder marches. A camp has been set up in the capital of trade unionists and campaigners demanding funding for public services and against the attacks.
People threw eggs and paint at the department of civil service building and at the police.
A long banner was hung on the Collusseum building reading, “They protect the rich by selling off Italy”. Protesters daubed “Nationalise the banks” on buildings.
Many young people and students joined the demonstrations across the country. The strike was called by the CGIL union. The union has called on others to join them in the struggle against the government but they have so far held back.
In Bari, in the south of the country, some 10,000 people marched and chanted together. School children, pensioners and immigrants all joined the protest. The union organised buses to bring strikers together from surrounding areas.
Throughout the rallies the call for unity rang out—to students, fellow workers and the unemployed. United, ordinary people in Italy can beat austerity, and their rotten government.